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MMWR
Synopsis for December 21, 2001

The MMWR is embargoed until 4 PM EST.

  1. Evaluation of Bacillus Anthracis Contamination Inside the Brentwood Mail Processing and Distribution Center — District of Columbia, October 2001
  2. Progress Toward Interrupting Indigenous Measles Transmission — Region of the Americas, January 2001–November 2001
  3. Rubella Outbreak — Arkansas, 1999

Notices to Readers

Updated Recommendations on the Use of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in a Setting of Vaccine Shortage — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Contact: Division of Media Relations
CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286


Notice to Editors: The MMWR will not be published on Friday, December 28, 2001. The next issue of the MMWR will publish on Friday, January 4, 2002.


Synopsis for December 21, 2001

Evaluation of Bacillus Anthracis Contamination Inside the Brentwood Mail Processing and Distribution Center — District of Columbia, October 2001

Four cases of inhalational anthrax among Brentwood employees indicate that aerosolization of B. anthracis occurred at the facility.

 

PRESS CONTACT:
Division of Media Relations

CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286

 

Sampling in October 2001 by CDC investigators and U.S. Postal Service contractors at the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, D.C., found widespread anthrax contamination in the facility’s mail processing area. The highest concentrations were identified on, or around, equipment and areas where a letter containing anthrax spores was sorted on its way to the Hart Senate Office Building. The distribution of contamination suggests that anthrax spores were dispersed through aerosolization, and that the use of compressed air to clean a sorting machine may inadvertently have contributed to the dispersal of spores. The investigators found vacuum sampling to be a useful complement to wipe samples for assessing contamination, especially when widespread contamination is suspected.

 

Progress Toward Interrupting Indigenous Measles Transmission — Region of the Americas, January 2001–November 2001

A plan developed by the Pan American Health Organization, and implemented by all member countries in the region, has resulted in record low risk of measles transmission.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Ciro de Quadros, M.D.

Pan American Health Organization
(202) 974–3247
 

Member countries of PAHO reported 423 measles cases to November 17, 2001 lowing the previous record of 1,754 in 2000. About 31% of these cases were linked to importation of the disease from other regions in the world. Dominican Republic and Haiti reported 64% of all cases in the region. This success is a result of the above 90% measles vaccination routine coverage achieved among children by 1 year of age since 1999, combined with successful catch-up and follow up campaigns implemented in the region since 1988. The Western Hemisphere is close to interruption of endemic transmission of measles. However, worldwide over 800,000 children die each year from measles.

 

Rubella Outbreak — Arkansas, 1999

Rubella vaccination and screening of pregnant women is essential for the control of rubella disease.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Wolfgang Hladik, M.D., M.Sc.

CDC, National Immunization Program
(404) 639–6111 (Atlernate: Susan Reef, M.D., 404–639–8750)
 

CDC investigated a rubella outbreak that occurred in Arkansas from August to October 1999. While rubella usually only causes a mild illness characterized by rash and fever, it may lead to a group of congenital malformations (known as congenital rubella syndrome, CRS) or death in fetuses when contracted during early pregnancy. With the success of the U.S. rubella vaccination program, rubella and CRS are on the verge of elimination in the United States; however, rubella is still endemic in many other countries. This outbreak, comprising 12 confirmed cases of rubella, was mainly concentrated among Hispanic workers at a poultry plant in Fort Smith County, Arkansas. The finding that the majority of rubella cases were found among Hispanics, often employed in the poultry industry, confirms a trend observed throughout the 1990's.

 


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