LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.0 KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA
5.0 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
ICELAND - As once-stranded European travelers return to their routine lives, farmers near the base of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano are only starting to grapple with long-term consequences of the recent eruption. The April 14 blast triggered major flooding that inundated hundreds of acres of fields and coated the area with ash up to four inches thick in some areas. Farmers have begun cleaning up — a laborious process that's expected to continue through the summer.
TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical cyclones.
HEALTH THREATS -
There is growing evidence that flu vaccines don't protect elderly people from flu-related death, but flu experts didn't entirely agree about how much this should be publicized. The director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (Osterholm) said that it's time to be more open about the vaccine's lack of effectiveness in older people. Flu vaccines don't work as well in older people as in younger because the aging immune system responds less vigorously. The vaccine may offer some protection in healthy older people, but evidence suggests it does not protect the frail elderly. The immunization director for the Minnesota Department of Health said she welcomes the findings but worries that if they are publicized, people will think there is no reason to get a flu vaccination. Osterholm said he initially was reluctant to accept the evidence that flu vaccines don't save elderly people's lives but now finds it incontrovertible. He added that new vaccines that work better in the elderly are needed. A high-dose vaccine intended for the elderly was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration this year.