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MMWR
Synopsis for November 12, 1999

MMWR articles are not embargoed this week.

  1. Reptile-Associated Salmonellosis — Selected States, 1996–1998
  2. Plasma Homocysteine as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor — United States, July –September, 1998
  3. Surveillance for Acute Pesticide-Related Illness During the Medfly Eradication Program — Florida, 1998

MMWR
Synopsis for November 12, 1999

Reptile-Associated Salmonellosis — Selected States, 1996–1998

Most reptile pet owners (lizards, snakes, or turtles) do not know that they are at-risk for Salmonella.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Division of Media Relations
CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286
Pet reptiles can carry and shed the bacterium Salmonella. The reptiles often do not show signs of illness, and transmission can occur without touching the infected animal (objects can become contaminated by the reptile). Infants less than 1 year of age are at greatest risk for more severe forms (sepsis and meningitis) of reptile-associated Salmonella. In 1998, a five-month-old boy died of Salmonella infection; his family owned a pet iguana which tested positive for the disease. Pet reptiles should not be kept in homes with immunocompromised persons or with children less than 1 year of age. Such pets should not be allowed to roam freely throughout the house and should not be kept in daycare centers. Reptile owners should follow simple safety precautions such as thorough handwashing after contact with reptiles. Approximately, 93,000 Salmonella infections are attributable to pet reptile or amphibian contact.

 

Plasma Homocysteine as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor — United States, July –September, 1998

Reference materials are needed to standardize homocysteine measurements.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Christine Pfeiffer, Ph.D.
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
(770) 488–7926
Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in the United States. Elevated plasma homocysteine is an independent risk factor for vascular diseases. Comparability of plasma homocysteine data among laboratories and methods is important for the clinical utility of homocysteine. This report is designed to increase awareness about the variability of different laboratories and methods analyzing plasma homocysteine. Further, there is a need for a standardization program, where properly characterized reference material is used to calibrate manufacturer assays as well as in-house methods. The latter will lead to comparability of the data and better clinical use of the data.

 

Surveillance for Acute Pesticide-Related Illness During the Medfly Eradication Program — Florida, 1998

Pesticide-related illnesses can be avoided through enhanced efforts at preventing importation of exotic pests, and developing safer, less toxic pesticides.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Geoffrey Calvert, M.D., M.P.H.
CDC, National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health
(513) 615–5608
The Florida Department of Health conducted surveillance for adverse health effects attributed to the 1998 Medfly Eradication Program pesticide applications. The 1998 Medfly Eradication Program involved aerial and ground application of malathion/bait. A total of 34 probable and 89 possible cases of pesticide- related illness were identified (9 cases per 10,000 exposed residents). No definite cases were found. Signs and symptoms involved the respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, and/or dermatological systems due to sensitivity to the irritant/allergic effects of malathion/bait. To reduce the risk of illness, federal and state agricultural authorities are encouraged to prevent Medfly importation into the United States, quickly identify Medfly infestations, and use safer eradication agents.

 


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