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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Intent to Receive Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines — North Carolina, August 2009

Press Contact: North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Public Affairs
(919) 733-9190

To increase coverage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, public health messages should be disseminated via television and should focus on presenting risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine compared to contracting the illness. To assess intent to receive 2009 H1N1 vaccine, we performed a survey among residents of two counties in North Carolina. Of 207 households surveyed, 64% of adults reported intent to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, while 65% reported intent to vaccinate all of their children. 51% reported an intent to vaccinate all of their children with both seasonal and 2009 H1N1 vaccines. Among those not intending vaccination, reasons cited included belief in a low likelihood of infection and concern regarding side effects. 85% reported receiving information about the vaccine from television.

2. Effects of Seasonal Influenza-Related School Dismissal on Families — Southeastern Kentucky, February 2008

Press Contact:Kentucky Department for Public Health
Gwenda Bond, Assistant Communications Director
(502) 564-6786, ext. 3325

School districts and health departments should provide families with specific information about the reason for school closings and provide recommendations for reducing the spread of influenza while students are dismissed from school. During influenza epidemics, little is known about how influenza-related school closures affect families or reduce illness transmission. To assess the impact of school closings on families, the Kentucky Department for Public Health conducted a telephone survey in two adjacent school districts that had been closed because of high absenteeism that affected operations and funding during an outbreak of seasonal influenza in the community in February 2008. Parents believed the closures were done to keep children from getting ill and to disinfect schools; however, disinfection of environmental surfaces beyond the recommended routine cleaning is not required for influenza. Despite the parental concern about reducing risk of illness, the children gathered in many social activities during the closure and parents had not received public health messages encouraging social distancing as a mitigation strategy. Officials must balance the need to maintain normal functioning and the risk of flu in their community with the disruption the dismissals will cause. Communities generally are supportive of school closures during large community outbreaks to reduce risk of children getting ill but accurate public health messages must be given along with the specific information about the reason for the school closure.

3. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Five Pediatric Patients — Four States, 2009

Press Contacts:
CDC Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is an uncommon but severe disease that can occur after contact with an infected rodent or rodent-infested area. Although most cases in the U.S. have occurred in adults, children are also susceptible. The risk of HPS can be minimized through rodent control in housing and play areas and by instructing children to avoid contact with rodents or areas of infestation. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a severe but rare disease, and over one-third of cases are fatal. Very few pediatric cases of HPS occur in the US. However, in 2009, five children aged 6–14 years developed HPS in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington. After initial flu-like symptoms, the children developed difficulty breathing and were taken to hospitals. Symptoms included fever, shortness of breath, and fluid accumulation in the lungs. One child died, and three of the four children who recovered required respiratory assistance at the hospital. Hantaviruses that cause HPS are carried by rodents, and all five children had exposures to rodents before their illness. While the majority of HPS cases occur in the western United States, rodents that carry hantaviruses are found throughout the country. HPS should be considered in children with unexplained acute respiratory distress, especially if rodent exposure is noted.

4. Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis-Related Years of Potential Life Lost Before Age 65 Years — United States, 1968–2006

Christina Spring
Health Communication Specialist
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(202) 245-0633

The increased proportion over time of CWP-related deaths among young adults underscores the need for strengthening prevention and elimination efforts for CWP, and continuation of surveillance for CWP deaths to follow future trends. A key measure of premature mortality of the occupational lung disease coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) that emphasizes deaths occurring among younger persons — a worker's years of potential life before age 65 (YPLL) that are lost as a result of death from CWP — declined substantially from 1968 to 2006, but annual YPLL from CWP have been increasing since 2002, and mean YPLL per decedent has been increasing since the early 1990s, meaning that workers die at younger age, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found. The results indicate that intense occupational overexposures to coal mine dust, which cause the disabling and often deadly occupational disease, continue to occur despite legally enforceable limits. The NIOSH study recommends hazard surveillance, workplace-specific interventions, and strengthening of current CWP prevention and elimination efforts to protect workers' health.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Historical Document: December 23, 2009
  • Content source: Office of Enterprise Communication
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