National News Roundup
While the number of measles cases reported in the United States decreased dramatically last year--signaling the end of a three-year resurgence--infants and toddlers represented a growing share of the number of cases reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of reported measles cases decreased from 27,786 in 1990 to 2,200 last year--a 92 percent drop--according to the study published last month.
However, the average age of infected persons fell from 12 years in 1989 to 4.9 years in 1992. Last year, 22 percent of measles cases occurred in infants under 1 year old, up from 17 percent in 1990.
In addition, preschool children between ages 1 and 4 made up 27.9 percent of the cases last year, compared with 30 percent in 1991, according to the study, which was based on data collected from 36 states and the District of Columbia.
While researchers attribute the sharp decline in cases over all to improved vaccination coverage for the general population, they say their findings demonstrate that children are not adequately immunized.
"It's a good-news, bad-news situation,'' said Dr. William Atkinson, a C.D.C. medical epidemiologist and the author of the report in the agency's May 21 "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.''
"Immunization coverage went up, but the number of children getting vaccines is unacceptably low,'' he said.
Dr. Atkinson said insuring that children receive full doses of all recommended vaccines during infancy is the best way to stem the measles problem, which claimed 132 lives last year.
An increasing number of minority high school students enrolled in the College Board's Equity 2000 project are taking college-preparatory mathematics courses and more teachers and counselors believe that students from underrepresented groups can succeed in high school and college, according to officials of the College Board.
The officials presented data supporting those conclusions at a news conference last week in Washington, where the organization was hosting its first national conference on the Equity 2000 program.
The program, started in 1990, identifies mathematics instruction as the "gatekeeper'' for student success, and requires all 9th and 10th graders at its six sites across the country to take algebra and geometry courses.
The program currently enrolls some 450,000 students in 700 schools.
College Board officials reported at the conference that high percentages of teachers and counselors at each of the sites have completed special training under the program.
In addition, linkages have been established between the participating school districts, their communities, and higher-education institutions, in support of Equity 2000 objectives, they said.
By training teachers and counselors in the best methods for educating heterogeneous groups, Equity 2000 is expected to eliminate tracking of students according to ability levels, College Board official say.
By requiring mathematics instruction, the project is expected to increase the college-going and college-retention rates of students from underrepresented groups.