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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

News Summary for July 14, 2011

1. Smoking in Top-Grossing Movies — United States, 2005–2010

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

The National Cancer Institute has concluded that studies indicate a causal relationship between exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and youth smoking initiation. For the fifth straight year, the number of onscreen tobacco incidents in youth-rated (G, PG, or PG-13) movies continued a downward trend, decreasing 71.6 percent from 2,093 incidents in 2005 to 595 in 2010. Similarly, the average number of incidents per youth-rated movie decreased 66.2 percent, from 20.1 in 2005 to 6.8 in 2010. The degree of decline, however, varied substantially by motion picture company. During the same period, three companies with published policies designed to reduce tobacco use in their movies had an average decrease in tobacco incidents of 95.8 percent, compared with an average decrease of 41.7 percent among the three major motion picture companies and independent motion picture companies without policies. Adolescents with the highest amount of exposure to onscreen smoking are about twice as likely to begin smoking as those with the least exposure. Policies designed to reduce onscreen tobacco use can substantially reduce tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies.

2. Virus Infections Among Travelers Returning from Haiti — Georgia and Nebraska, October 2010

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

In October 2010, 28 travelers spent approximately one week in Haiti. Upon return to the United States, seven travelers with febrile illness were found to have laboratory-confirmed dengue virus infection. Dengue virus, the causative agent of dengue fever, is a mosquitoes-transmitted virus endemic to tropical and subtropical regions. Travelers were questioned regarding pretravel knowledge about dengue and the use of mosquito-avoidance practices during travel; few knew about the risk of dengue in Haiti or employed appropriate mosquito-avoidance practices. Travelers to dengue virus endemic areas should be educated on the risk of acquiring dengue and appropriate mosquito-avoidance strategies. Suspected and confirmed cases should be reported promptly to health departments to implement measures to reduce the risk of imported dengue outbreaks in the United States. To prevent infection with dengue virus, travelers to Haiti and other dengue-endemic regions should be educated about dengue risks and employ appropriate strategies to avoid mosquito bites during the entire period of travel.

3. Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak at a Summer Camp — North Carolina, 2009

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

This article reports on an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, at a camp. Individuals can become infected with Cryptosporidium if they swallow contaminated food or water or if they come in contact with infected persons or animals. The outbreak investigation identified 46 cases of cryptosporidiosis in campers and staff members and suggested that eating a ham sandwich that might have contained contaminated lettuce and sharing a cabin with someone who was ill with cryptosporidiosis might have caused the outbreak. The laboratory investigation found that the campers, staff members, and livestock at the camp were all infected with same type of Cryptosporidium. As a result, investigators suspect that although the parasite was linked to eating camp food, it is likely that it was introduced by infected calves at the camp, and subsequently contaminated the lettuce. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and chlorine do not kill Cryptosporidium but thorough handwashing can help prevent this parasite from spreading. Camp owners/managers can provide accessible handwashing stations with soap and clean, running water near exits of animal areas and help prevent the spread of Cryptosporidium at their camp by following the other steps outlined in Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animal in Public Settings, 2011, available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6004.pdf.

4. Illness Associated with Exposure to Methyl Bromide–Fumigated Produce — California, 2010

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

In Carson, California, two workers became ill after being exposed intermittently to methyl bromide over several months as part of their job inspecting produce in a cold-storage facility. Both workers had disabling neurologic symptoms, including difficulty walking, dizziness, and difficulties with concentration. Exposure to methyl bromide can occur in storage facilities used to hold produce that has been sprayed with the chemical as part of fumigation measures, creating a potential hazardous exposure for workers who enter these storage areas. Methyl bromide is a toxic gas used to fumigate agricultural fields and some harvested agricultural commodities. An environmental investigation revealed the potential for excessive methyl bromide to occur during storage of fumigated grapes from Chile. Clinicians should consider occupational and environmental exposures in their differential diagnosis, and workers potentially exposed to fumigants should be informed of the health hazards related to these pesticides. For work locations where methyl bromide exposures may occur, it is important to take measures to reduce postfumigation methyl bromide exposures, including 1) increased aeration time, 2) reduction of packaging that might absorb methyl bromide or limit aeration, 3) changes in the stacking of pallets to improve air flow and 4) reduction of required application rates. Facilities should monitor air methyl bromide levels if they store methyl bromide-fumigated commodities in enclosed spaces entered by workers.

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