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  Press Summaries

MMWR
July 9, 1999

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


MMWR Synopsis
  1. Bronchoscopy-Related Infections and Pseudoinfections New York, 1996 and 1998
  2. Rubella Outbreak Westchester County, New York, 1997-1998
  3. Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service

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MMWR

Synopsis July 9, 1999

Bronchoscopy-Related Infections and Pseudoinfections New York, 1996 and 1998
Personnel responsible for using, cleaning and disinfecting bronchoscopes should ensure that their reprocessing practices are adequate to prevent the transmission of organisms.

PRESS CONTACT:
Virginia Roth, M.D.
CDC, Nationl Center for Infectious Diseases
(404) 639-6413
Bronchoscopes (or "scopes") are fibreoptic tubes that are passed into the lungs to diagnose respiratory diseases. CDC, the Food and Drug Administation, and state health departments have received inquiries from patients and clinicians about the risk of infection from bronchoscopes. Over a 2-year period (1996-1998), the New York State Health Department investigated three clusters involving 30 patients whose sputum was found to be contaminated with bacteria during bronchoscopy; at least three of these patients developed an infection. State investigators found conflicting instructions on how to properly clean the scopes, inadequate training of those responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the scopes, and the use of automated machines to clean scopes not designed for automated reprocessing.

  Rubella Outbreak Westchester County, New York, 1997-1998
Outbreaks of rubella are occurring in the United States among unvaccinated adults born in countries that do not routinely vaccinate against rubella.
PRESS CONTACT:
Susan Reef, M.D.
CDC, National Immunization Program
(404) 639-8255
In the United States, children are vaccinated against rubella (vaccination is universal) and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome have decreased substantially. However, in many other countries, rubella vaccination is not routine, or it has been recently implemented. Outbreaks of rubella are occurring in the United States among unvaccinated adults who were born in countries where rubella vaccination is not routine. Rubella infection during the first trimester of pregnancy can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infants with birth defects. Because many non-U.S.-born adults are susceptible to rubella, health-care providers should use all health-care visits to assure vaccination of susceptible persons. Collaboration among health departments and community based organizations may be useful in effectively informing and mobilizing the population at risk.

  Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service
Every vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration is considered safe and effective.
PRESS CONTACT:
Division of Media Relations
CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286
Since the 1940s, some vaccines have contained thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury. Thimerosal prevents bacterial contamination of the vaccine. As part of an ongoing assessment of mercury in the environment and in products, many agencies have developed guidelines for acceptable levels of mercury. Acceptable levels are set well below any amount known to cause harm. The FDA has requested that manufacturers develop a plan to eliminate or reduce the amounts of mercury in today's vaccines. Meanwhile, because of the flexibility of the immunization schedule, healthcare providers and parents can continue to protect infants by vaccinating them against a host of devastating childhood diseases.

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