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  Press Summaries

MMWR
June 18, 1999

MMWR articles are embargoed until 4 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.


MMWR Synopsis
  1. Firearm-Associated Deaths and Hospitalizations California, 1995-1996
  2. Trichinellosis Outbreaks Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany, 1998-1999
  3. State-Specific Maternal Mortality Among Black and White Women United States, 1987-1996

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MMWR

Synopsis June 18, 1999

Firearm-Associated Deaths and Hospitalizations California, 1995-1996
Firearm injury surveillance should focus on both fatal and nonfatal data.

PRESS CONTACT:
Jason Van Court, M.P.H.
California Department of Health Services
(916) 657-3064
Firearms are involved in one in four injury-related deaths in California. Most firearm injury researchers study deaths because this is the most serious health consequence of firearm injuries and it is the easiest data to obtain. The Firearm Injury Surveillance Program of the California Department of Health Services has examined firearm-related injuries from vital statistics death records and hospital discharge records for 1995 and 1996. The findings indicate that fatal and non-fatal firearm injuries have very different patterns, especially regarding self-inflicted and unintentional injuries. To gain a full understanding of the nature of firearm injuries and risk factors for these injuries, firearm injury surveillance should focus on both fatal and nonfatal data.

  Trichinellosis Outbreaks Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany, 1998-1999
Trichinellosis outbreaks are generally associated with eating contaminated meat or meat products.
PRESS CONTACT:
Peter M. Schantz, D.V.M., Epidemiologist
Division of Parasitic Diseases
CDC, National Center for Infectious Diseases
(770) 488-7767
From November 1998 through January 1999, 52 cases of trichinellosis were reported from 11 cities and districts in Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany. Trichinellosis is caused by eating raw or undercooked pork and wild game products infected with the larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. This investigation identified two simultaneous outbreaks; one caused by contaminated ground meat and the other by a commercially prepared raw smoked sausage. In Germany, trichinellosis screening of all pork has been mandatory since 1937. Screening of meat involves visual identification of the larvae. This outbreak shows that modern mass food production can contribute to large outbreaks when screening is absent or fails.

  State-Specific Maternal Mortality Among Black and White Women United States, 1987-1996
Maternal mortality in the United States can be further reduced and is preventable.
PRESS CONTACT:
Lynne Wilcox, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
(770) 488-5191
The United States has not reached an irreducible minimum in maternal mortality. Maternal mortality can be prevented. Total maternal mortality has not declined in the United States since 1982. There is a four- fold increase in risk of maternal death among black women compared with white women. There has been no improvement in this racial disparity over the past 15 years. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) for black women is higher than for white women in every state where a ratio could be calculated. Both public health surveillance and prevention research are needed to understand the continued marked disparity between black and white maternal mortality. By investing in public health surveillance and prevention research to monitor and identify causes of maternal mortality, and maternal health programs to promote maternal health, the risk of maternal mortality and morbidity can be reduced in the United States.

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