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MMWR
Synopsis for April 19, 2002

The MMWR is embargoed until 12 Noon, ET, Thursdays.

  1. Neurologic Illness Associated with Eating Florida Pufferfish — Florida, Virginia and New Jersey, 2002
  2. Fatal Yellow Fever in a Traveler Returning from Amazonas, Brazil, 2002
  3. Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 2001
  4. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality Rates — 60 Largest U.S. Cities, 1995–1998

Telebriefing, April 18, 2002
WHO: Dr. Robert Tauxe, CDC foodborne diseases expert
WHAT: To discuss this week's MMWR article on the incidence of foodborne illnesses. Brief remarks followed by Q/A.
WHEN: Thursday, April 18, 2002; Noon-12:30 PM ET
WHERE: At your desk, by toll-free conference line: Dial 866-254-5942
Teleconference name: CDC
A full transcript will be available today following the teleconference at http://www.cdc.gov/media/.

This teleconference will also be audio webcast. Listen LIVE online at http://www.cdc.gov/media/.

Synopsis for April 19, 2002

Neurologic Illness Associated with Eating Florida Pufferfish — Florida, Virginia and New Jersey, 2002

Neurological illnesses associated with eating pufferfish are rare in the United States.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Michael McGeehin, PhD, MSPH

CDC, National Center for Environmental Health
(404) 498–1300
 

People who eat fish should be aware that some pufferfish (also called sea squab, chicken of the sea or blowfish) from Florida may contain a powerful neurotoxin called saxitoxin. The toxin has no odor or taste. It cannot be destroyed by freezing or cooking the fish. The most common symptoms of exposure are tingling and burning of the mouth and tongue, numbness, drowsiness, and incoherent speech. These symptoms develop 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion of the fish, depending on the amount of toxin ingested. In severe cases, ataxia, muscle weakness, respiratory paralysis and death can occur. Only pufferfish from the Indian and Banana River areas near Titusville, FL have been associated with these illnesses. There are many benefits to including fish in one's diet, and these illnesses should not be cause for people to eliminate fish from their diets.

 

Fatal Yellow Fever in a Traveler Returning from Amazonas, Brazil, 2002

This case represents the third reported yellow fever (YF) death of a U.S. citizen following travel to the Amazon region since 1996.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Kathleen Julian, MD

CDC, National Center for Infectious Diseases
(970) 221–6400 (Ft. Collins, Colorado)
 

This report describes a fatal case of yellow fever in an unvaccinated man who had just returned from a fishing trip in Amazonas, Brazil. Although there is an effective yellow fever vaccine recommended for travel to areas of known risk (including Amazonas), the patient had not been vaccinated. Although information from commercial outfitters and travel agents might minimize health risks, healthcare providers and travelers should review vaccination and other traveler’s health recommendations from public health agencies. The deceased traveler was one of 15 U.S. citizens who visited the Amazon on a fishing trip. Of these 15, only 8 of these travelers were appropriately vaccinated for YF.

 

Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Foodborne Illnesses — Selected Sites, United States, 2001

There has been a substantial decline in the incidence of infections caused by Yersinia, Listeria, Campylobacter, and Salmonella in the past 6 years.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Division of Media Relations

CDC, Office of Communication
(404) 639–3286
 

An estimated 76 million persons contract foodborne illnesses each year in the United States. CDC’s Emerging Infections Program Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) collects data about ten foodborne diseases in nine U.S. sites to quantify and monitor foodborne illnesses. This report describes preliminary surveillance data for 2001 and compares them with 1996–2000 data. The data show a decrease in the major bacterial foodborne illnesses, indicating progress toward meeting the “Healthy People 2010” objectives of reducing the incidence of foodborne diseases by 2010. However, the data do not show a sustained decline in some infections, indicating that increased efforts are needed to further reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses.

 

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality Rates — 60 Largest U.S. Cities, 1995–1998

In major U.S. cities, black infants are more likely to die in the first year of life than white or Hispanic infants.

 
PRESS CONTACT:
Scott Santibanez, MD, MPHTM

CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention & Health Promotion
(770) 488–6250
 

Infant mortality is influenced by complex social, demographic, environmental, behavioral and biologic factors. Cities with the highest infant mortality have more infants who are very low birthweight at birth, more births to teenage mothers, fewer women who receive prenatal care, and more racial segregation. In addition, some of the racial disparity is due to higher rates of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality. When researchers compared the death rates of black, white and Hispanic infants separately across cities, they found substantial differences. To make a substantial improvement in urban infant mortality, efforts must continue to address the racial/ethnic differences in infant mortality in urban settings. The low infant mortality rates achieved by some cities suggests that there is a great potential to reduce death rates in cities that are currently experiencing unacceptably high death rates.


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