Windows shattered and building facades and signs fell, but no one was seriously injured when a powerful earthquake shook this rural northeastern town on Thursday. The quake, which had an estimated magnitude of 6.0, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center, struck at 6:16 a.m. and was centered in a sparsely populated area 11 miles southeast of Wells, near the Nevada-Utah line. Elko County commissioners declared a state of emergency. "Almost all of the businesses are shut down. We have no services and no fuel," Commissioner Mike Nannini said. Almost all of the 700 residential structures in town had some damage, said Tom Turk, a state spokesman at the scene. The quake was felt across much of the West, from northern Idaho and Utah to Southern California.
Flu vaccine gets full makeover
Next year's flu vaccine is getting an overhaul to provide protection against three new influenza strains - hopefully better protection than this year's version. Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration backed the new recipe on Thursday, echoing an earlier decision by the World Health Organization. Seldom are more than one or two strains swapped out from one year to the next. Now the question is whether vaccine manufacturers can make such a big change in time to produce more than 100-million doses by the fall. The flu vaccine must be reformulated every year to keep up with the fast-evolving influenza virus. This year's vaccine is a good match for only about 40 percent of the virus now spreading in the United States. A strain called Brisbane/10 is the big culprit; it's not included in this year's vaccine but will be among the three varieties in next year's. (For questions and answers about this year's flu season, see Page 1B.)
A stroke of luck for cat owners
A new study suggests cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who don't own cats. And dogs don't do the same trick. The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota, found that feline-less people were 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats. The study was presented Thursday at a stroke conference in New Orleans. Dr. Adnan Qureshi, a stroke expert, said he decided to raise the question because other studies suggested pets can help reduce stress. His team analyzed 4,435 people who answered questionnaires about pet ownership and other risk factors. The cat-dog differential came as a surprise. "We don't understand this completely."