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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

‘Choking Game’ Deaths Among Youths Aged 6–19 Years — United States, 1995–2007

PRESS CONTACT: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
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Parents, educators, and health-care providers should become aware of the warning signs of a potentially deadly activity among early adolescents called the “choking game.” Since 1995, at least 82 children and adolescents have died as a result of playing the “choking game” – a form of strangling oneself using one′s hands or a noose or being strangled by another person to obtain a brief euphoric state, or “high.” Death or serious injury can result if the strangulation is prolonged. Among these deaths, 86.6% were male, and the mean age was 13.2 years. CDC researchers obtained this information from a review of media reports from 1995 through 2007. Health-care providers, educators, and parents should become more aware of this behavior so that they can recognize early warning signs such as discussion of the game or its aliases; bloodshot eyes; marks on the neck; frequent, severe headaches; disorientation after spending time alone; and ropes, scarves and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor.

Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Children 5 Years After Conjugate Vaccine Introduction - Eight States, 1998-2005

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Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine prevented over 60,000 serious bacterial infections among children less than 5 years of age since its introduction in 2000. Pneumococcus, another name for the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infections in children. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, also known as Prevnar®, was licensed in the United States in 2000 for use in children less than 2 years of age and older children at increased risk for pneumococcal disease. This vaccine targets the seven strains of pneumococcus that, in 2000, were the most common among children. The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and collaborators in eight states participating in the Emerging Infections Program, evaluated the effects of continued use of this vaccine on disease incidence among children less than 5 years of age. CDC estimates that over 60,000 cases of the severest forms of pneumococcal disease were prevented since the vaccine introduction in the U.S. Disease caused by pneumococcal strains not covered by the vaccine formulation has increased, and this increase was primarily driven by serotype 19A. While these increases have not erased the overall positive effects of the vaccine introduction in the general U.S. population, new conjugate vaccines should provide protection against serotype 19A disease.

Progress Introducing Haemophilus influenzae type b Vaccine in Low-Income Countries — Worldwide, 2004–2008

PRESS CONTACT: CDC
Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

More children in low-income countries are getting vaccinated against Hib pneumonia and meningitis. Much progress is being made toward the introduction and use of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine in low-income countries. From 2004 to 2007, the proportion of poorest countries using or approved to use Hib vaccine increased from 18 percent to 65 percent.

Hib disease is estimated to cause 3 million cases of meningitis (i.e., swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and severe pneumonia and about 386,000 deaths worldwide per year in children 5 years old and younger. Safe and effective Hib vaccines have been widely used in industrialized countries for nearly 20 years, but have been relatively unavailable in the world′s poorest countries.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Historical Document: February 14, 2008
  • Content source: Office of Enterprise Communication
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