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Despite near-elimination of measles in U.S., international travel presents risks, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — While a vaccine against measles has been available for 50 years, the disease remains a threat in the United States, particularly when acquired by children entering the country from abroad, according to a new report.

In an article published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, CDC researcher Mark Papania wrote that measles in the United States had been eliminated through 2011, but that importation continues. American doctors should suspect children have measles if they have a high fever and rash, especially if they have traveled abroad or are visiting from abroad.

Measles was a year-round threat in the country before the vaccination program started in 1963. Today, 430 children die from it worldwide every day, and there were an estimated 158,000 deaths in 2011, while one-in-five children with the disease is hospitalized. There were 175 cases in the United States in 2013, virtually all linked to foreign travel.

"A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere," CDC director Tom Frieden said. "The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day."

 

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Supervalu launches fleet of natural gas-powered trucks out of Virginia

BY Michael Johnsen

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — Supervalu on Friday announced a new fleet of environmentally-friendly delivery trucks that operate on compressed natural gas. Contributing to a smaller carbon footprint across the East Coast, the recent purchase of 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks will operate out of Supervalu’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and serve approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina. 

“Our decision to transition to natural-gas-powered trucks is in keeping with Supervalu’s long-standing commitment to do business in a sustainable manner,” said Mike Lech, VP logistics for Supervalu’s Eastern Region. “This project is not only good for the environment, but also for the bottom line, as each natural-gas-powered truck will cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fuel usage for our fleet. We’re proud of this effort and the many great partners who helped make it a reality.”

According to Supervalu, it’s the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.

To power the new trucks, Trillium CNGTM, a leading provider of compressed natural gas fueling solutions, built and will operate a fast-fill CNG station at Supervalu’s Mechanicsville distribution center. The conversion to natural gas will reduce the fleet’s annual oil consumption by more than 1 million gallons and result in 1,300 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new CNG fleet and fast-fill station is expected to reduce Supervalu’s operating costs given the lower cost of compressed natural gas.

Utilizing Trillium’s high-performance, fast-fill hydraulic intensifier, the new station can fuel trucks at a rate of eight to 10 gallons per minute.

The fill station is the first of two Trillium stations planned in the Richmond, Va., area. The second is under construction at GRTC Transit System, the public transit agency jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, and is expected to be operational in three to four months. By the end of the second quarter 2014, Trillium CNG will be operating 81 CNG stations nationwide, with 54 of them having public access.

The new trucks and Mechancisville fast-fill station were officially unveiled Friday at a ceremony attended by Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, as well as several local and company officials.

 

 

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Kroger to tie loyalty card program to personalized charitable giving

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — In an effort to engender even greater shopper loyalty, Kroger has tied its loyalty card to the charity of a consumer’s choice, according to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer

"By the end of next year, most Kroger divisions will contribute to a combined $50 million that will be given to schools and other nonprofits based on local shoppers’ charitable preferences and their shopping habits," the report reads. "Kroger’s Community Rewards program will account for one-fifth of the grocer’s total $250 million-a-year charitable activity."

Loyalty card holders identify their favorite local charity online from a list of nonprofits compiled by Kroger. Kroger cuts a quarterly check to those nonprofits in proportion to the amount of products purchased by each shopper. 

 

 

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