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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Community Health Impact of Extended Loss of Water Service — Alabama, January 2010

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
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In January, 2010, unusually cold weather led to loss of drinking water service or low water pressure for up to two weeks in two rural Alabama communities. A public health investigation looked into possible health impacts and found that residents who had low water pressure or no water service for at least a week reported 2 to 3 times more vomiting or diarrhea than residents who did not experience water shortages. Further, households were not adequately prepared for the duration of the water emergency — only 45 percent had any stored water, and less than 10 percent had 5 gallons or more. Less than half of the residents heard about the boil water advisories at the beginning of the emergency, and 30 percent of residents drank unboiled tap water, indicating that emergency response messages were not reaching all members of the community. Communities and households need to be prepared for water-related emergencies to avoid potential health impacts associated with loss of water service and pressure. Government response agencies need to have communication, notification, and response plans in place to effectively respond to water-related emergencies.

2. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Effects Among Adults, by Hispanic/Latino Subgroup — United States, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2009

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
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This report examines the prevalence of arthritis and three arthritis attributable effects (severe pain, physical limitations, and work limitations) for seven Hispanic/Latino subgroups. An estimated 3.1 million Hispanics/Latinos had arthritis. The age-adjusted prevalence of arthritis ranged from 11.7 percent (Cuban/Cuban Americans) to 21.8 percent (Puerto Ricans). For all Hispanic/Latino subgroups, at least one in five people reported each arthritis-attributable effect. Wide-scale use of culturally adapted community level interventions that are proven to increase exercise and self-management skills would likely lead to meaningful improvements in the quality of life for adults with arthritis. The burden of arthritis and attributable effects is variable but substantial among all Hispanic/Latino subgroups. People with arthritis can reduce pain and physical limitations through exercise such as walking.

3. Potential Transmission of Viral Hepatitis Through Use of Stored Blood Vessel Conduits in Organ Transplants — Pennsylvania, 2009

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
(404) 639-3286

The objective of this report is to bring attention to the risk of storing hepatitis-seropositive vessel conduits for use in organ transplant procedures. Solid organ transplantation sometimes requires the use of blood vessel “conduits” from a deceased donor to connect transplanted organ vessels to recipient vessels. Vessel conduits not immediately used are stored for later use. Vessel conduits from hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus seropositive donors can be stored, but are intended for use in seropositive patients only. Unintended viral hepatitis transmission can be reduced by discontinuing the practice of storing hepatitis-seropositive vessel conduits, and should be considered at all transplant centers. Organ procurement organizations, transplant centers, and the public health community should be aware of the potential risk of hepatitis virus transmission from vessel conduit use. CDC recommends that organ procurement organizations and transplant centers discontinue the practice of storing hepatitis-seropositive vessel conduits.

4. Update: Influenza Activity — United States, December 12, 2010–February 5, 2011

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
(404) 639-3286

While influenza activity was low in most regions of the United States from October through early December, activity has picked up since mid-December. Influenza is currently present in all 50 states and activity is widespread in approximately 75 percent of states. The weekly number of out-patient visits for influenza-like illness has steadily risen since the first week of January. The percentage of overall deaths attributed to pneumonia or influenza first exceeded the epidemic threshold in the last week of January. The number of pediatric influenza-associated deaths that have been reported tripled (from 10 prior to January 16, 2011 to 30 since January 16, 2011) in the past month. In 2010-11, influenza continues to be associated with a substantial number of out-patient visits, hospitalizations, and deaths, particularly among high risk persons. It is not too late to be vaccinated. Annual vaccination is the most effective method to prevent influenza and its complications. All persons older than 6 months of age who have not yet been vaccinated this season should talk to their healthcare providers about getting vaccinated.

 

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