Officials: No Confirmed Cases of Zika Virus in Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Health officials say Kansas has not had any confirmed cases of the Zika virus. The Zika virus, which is generally so mild that it only causes symptoms in about one out of five cases, raised concerns recently when doctors in Brazil started to notice a possible link between the virus — spread by a particular mosquito — and the birth defect microcephaly. Symptoms of the virus include rash and fever. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said yesterday (FRI) in a release that it recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. So far, the only recent case transmitted in the U.S. is believed to have occurred in Texas through sex.
Wichita Earthquakes Caused More than $100,000 Damage
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita officials say the city suffered more than $100,000 in damage from two earthquakes in early January. The Wichita Eagle reports the city will pay for the repairs out of its operating budget because the city's earthquake insurance deductible is $250,000. An earthquake incident report says about $60,000 of the cost came from repairing 10 water main breaks after the earthquakes. Other damages were to foundations or masonry of city buildings, including two recreation centers, police substations, the Mid-America All-Indian Center and the Alford Library. The city also plans to improve its earthquake response plan in case earthquakes become more frequent. Scientists suspect recent earthquakes in Kansas are being caused by injections of wastewater by oil fracking companies.
Kansas Bill Would Protect Underage Drinkers Who Seek Help
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has approved a bill that would allow underage drinkers to avoid charges if they call for medical help. The vote yesterday (FRI) was 92-27. Supporters said the measure is intended to avoid preventable tragedies. The Senate passed the measure last year, but the House Judiciary Committee made technical changes that senators must consider before the bill can go to Governor Sam Brownback. Underage drinkers would not be charged if they called law enforcement or emergency medical services for themselves or other drinkers. They also would have to cooperate and remain on the scene. The Wichita Eagle reported that Republican Representative Tom Phillips of Manhattan says the bill is designed to prevent alcohol poisoning and deaths of college students. Some opponents said the bill removes consequences for underage drinkers.
US Rig Count Drops 48 This Week
HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Incorporated says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 48 this week to 571. The Houston firm said yesterday (FRI) 467 rigs sought oil and 104 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,456 rigs were active. Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas declined by 19 rigs, Oklahoma dropped eight, Louisiana dropped five, Pennsylvania lost three, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming each declined by two and Ohio dropped by one. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.