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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

News Summary for September 29, 2011

1. Clusters of Acute Respiratory Illness Associated with Human Enterovirus 68 — Asia, Europe, United States, 2008–2010

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

Several clusters of respiratory illness caused by human enterovirus 68 (HEV68) have occurred in the United States, Europe, and Asia in the past two years. Three patients died. HEV68 is not new, but clusters involving large numbers of people with this virus are a recent phenomenon. This may be due in part to improved respiratory diagnostics; however, long-term surveillance at some sites showed that EV68 was an unusual cause of respiratory illness in other years. HEV68 infection can cause relatively mild respiratory illness to severe disease, requiring intensive care and mechanical ventilation, and death. Health care providers should be aware of HEV68 as one of many causes of viral respiratory disease. Clusters of unexplained respiratory illness should be reported to the appropriate public health agency.

2. Cigarette Smoking Prevalence Among Working Adults — United States, 2004–2010

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

There are large disparities in smoking prevalence among U.S. adults classified by industry and occupation. By industry, smoking is lowest in the education services industry (9.7 percent) and highest in the mining and food services industries (30.0 percent). Similar results were found when looking at individuals’ occupation. By occupation, smoking is lowest among adults with education, training and library jobs (8.7 percent) and highest among those in construction and extraction jobs (31.4 percent). Effective employer interventions include 100 percent smoke-free workplace policies, easily accessible help for those who want to quit, and health insurance with little or no co-payment for cessation treatments. These interventions are needed for all occupation and industries, particularly among those with the highest smoking rates. Effective employer interventions are available to reduce smoking and can maximize employee health, decrease absenteeism, and reduce utilization of health care resources.

3. Severe Illness from 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) — Utah, 2009–2010

Rachelle Boulton
Utah Department of Health
(801) 538-6185

Public health in Utah has monitored influenza-associated hospitalizations since 2005. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, public health in Utah was able to use this existing system to monitor the pandemic and compare its impact on the Utah population to seasonal influenza. Public health in Utah found that 2009 H1N1 influenza caused more severe illness and disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities, pregnant women, and residents of Salt Lake County, the most densely populated county in Utah. This information enabled public health authorities to confidently disseminate critical information to groups severely affected by 2009 H1N1 influenza and to advise clinicians to consider early antiviral treatment for groups with more severe disease. Tracking influenza-associated hospitalizations is a useful system for monitoring influenza epidemics and identifying risk factors for severe disease.

4. Progress in Implementing Measles Mortality Reduction Strategies — India, 2010–2011

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

Globally, it is estimated that 733,000 children died from measles in 2000. In 2008, an estimated 77 percent of 164,000 global measles deaths occurred in South-East Asia, the majority of which were in India. Reduction in measles deaths in India is essential to achieve the global goal of 95 percent reduction in measles deaths by 2015 compared to the number of deaths in 2000. Providing two doses of measles vaccine to all children is an important step to reduce measles deaths and until recently India was the only country to provide only one dose of measles vaccine. In 2010, the government of India took a significant step forward in reducing measles deaths by initiating introduction of second dose of measles vaccine. The introduction of second dose of measles vaccine is being implemented in phases across Indian states and significant progress in reducing measles deaths in India could be expected in the future if the Union and State governments of India completely implement strategies to reduce measles deaths. 

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