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(Box) National Birth Defects Prevention Month and Folic Acid Awareness Week

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Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

No summary available.

Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Birth Prevalence of Spina Bifida – United States, 1995-2005

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Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

While folic acid fortification has been instrumental in decreasing the rates of spina bifida, additional public health efforts targeting women with known risk factors for an NTD-affected pregnancy (e.g., obesity, Hispanic ethnicity, and certain genetic factors) are likely needed to further reduce the prevalence of spina bifida in the United States. Folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grains has been mandatory in the U.S. since 1998 and resulted in a 23 percent decline in spina bifida, a serious birth defect. A new study by the CDC compared early post-fortification (1999-2000) to more recent years (2003-2005), and found no further significant decrease in spina bifida among infants born to non-Hispanic white and Hispanic mothers, but a 20 percent decrease among infants born to non-Hispanic black mothers. In order to further reduce the prevalence of spina bifida in the U.S., additional public health efforts will need to target women at higher risk including obese women, women of Hispanic ethnicity, and women with certain genetic risk factors.

Investigation of Patients Treated by an HIV-Infected Cardiothoracic Surgeon – Israel, 2007

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

In view of the very low risk of surgeon-to-patient HIV transmission in the present era, national and international public health bodies should issue updated guidelines for medical institutions in which a healthcare worker performing invasive procedures is found to be HIV positive. Following the discovery of HIV infection in a cardiothoracic surgeon, HIV testing was offered to patients operated on by the surgeon during the previous decade, none of whom were known carriers. 545 patients (1/3 of the total number identified) underwent testing; all results were negative. These findings are consistent with previous reports indicating a very low risk of surgeon-to-patient HIV transmission. An expert panel convened by the Israel Ministry of Health recommended unrestricted resumption of work, without requirement to inform prospective patients of the surgeon′s HIV status, provided certain conditions designed to keep the risk of transmission minimal were met. The low risk of transmission should be reflected in updated guidelines for medical institutions in which a healthcare provider is found to be HIV positive.

Changes in Tobacco Use Among Youths Aged 13-15 Years – Panama, 2002 and 2008

PRESS CONTACT: Matthew McKenna
CDC Office on Smoking and Health
(770) 488-5493

Evidence-based tobacco control efforts—such as those undertaken in Panama to limit exposure to both pro-tobacco messages and secondhand smoke—have a demonstrable effect on smoking prevalence and behavior among youth. Between 2002 and 2008, youth tobacco use and the likelihood that nonsmoking youth would start smoking declined substantially in Panama. Factors that influence tobacco use also showed significant decreases, including 1) exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) at home and in public places, 2) best friends smoking, 3) protobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines, and 4) having an object with a tobacco company logo on it. Researchers believe that strong tobacco control efforts in Panama helped reduce tobacco use among adolescents. In 2005 Panama banned the sale of individual cigarettes, cigarettes in vending machines, and protobacco advertising on billboards. Panama further intensified its efforts in 2008 by prohibiting tobacco consumption in all enclosed work settings. Efforts also included prohibiting protobacco statements on cigarette packages and any form of protobacco advertising, promotion, or sponsorship in all venues.

Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule – United States, 2009

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

No summary available.

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  • Historical Document: January 8, 2009
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