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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Air Travel Restricted for Public Health Purposes – United States, June 2007-May 2008

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to prevent commercial air travel of persons with known communicable diseases that pose a serious public health threat by developing a national Do Not Board list. CDC recommends that persons known to have communicable diseases that pose a serious public health threat, such as infectious tuberculosis, refrain from traveling by any public conveyance. To strengthen national preparedness and prevent the possibility of exposure to these contagious diseases during air travel, in June 2007, the CDC began a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security to prevent persons with diseases posing a serious public health threat from boarding commercial airline flights. Under this program, state and local health officials can request that persons who are believed to be contagious and nonadherent with instructions against travel on commercial airline flights be placed on a national public health Do Not Board list. Beginning June 1, 2007 through May 31, 2008, 33 persons were placed on the Do Not Board list, all of these for suspected or confirmed infectious tuberculosis.

Expanded Newborn Screening – United States, 2006

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

With the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG)-recommended expansion of the newborn screening panel, there is need for complementary public health and health-care delivery programs to manage the rare disorders detected through expanded newborn screening, while also continuing programs to address more common disorders. In 2006, to address the differences in the number of disorders included in state to state newborn screening panels, the ACMG recommended a uniform panel of 29 disorders for screening. These new study results look at the burden to the state newborn screening programs and help determine the number of children who would have been identified with disorders in 2006 given the new ACMG panel recommendations. This study found a 32 percent increase in children identified by this new set of guidelines. In addition, these children identified would have had many, very rare disorders that require more in-depth expertise in screening, diagnosis and management of the disorder. These findings emphasize the need for public health and healthcare systems to provide programs that manage the numerous rare disorders detected through newborn screening, while continuing to address the more common disorders identified.

Thallium Poisoning from Eating Contaminated Cake – Iraq, 2008

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

Prevention of human illness from contaminated foods and ensuring food safety are critical public health capacities. An outbreak of unusual symptoms (neurological and gastrointestinal) that occurred among 2 families in Iraq and resulted in 4 deaths, was found to have been caused by eating cake that had been contaminated with thallium, an odorless, tasteless, heavy metal. This submission describes the investigation of this incident. Identification of the rare poison and vehicle of transmission was possible because multiple governmental agencies and private sector health-care providers assisted and worked with each other, within and between countries, during the response to this incident. Clinicians who see sudden painful onset of peripheral neuropathy and hair loss should consider the possibility of thallium poisoning, and because of historical precedents, investigation should include assessment for criminal intent. Awareness and vigilance for illnesses resulting from food is critical.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Page last reviewed: September 18, 2008
  • Page last updated: September 18, 2008
  • Content source: Office of Enterprise Communication
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