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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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1. Heat Illness and Deaths — New York City, 2000–2011

Levi Fishman
347-396-4177
pressoffice@health.nyc.gov

In the U.S. heat waves kill more persons, on average, than other extreme weather events.  In New York City more than 150 deaths were caused by heat stroke, an estimated1600 were hospitalized and approximately 2700 were treated at emergency departments for heat illness from 2000 through 2011, according to the NYC Health Department. Researchers also found that the risk was higher among older adults and in neighborhoods with high poverty rates, and many of those affected had chronic physical or mental health problems.  Among those who died, obesity and a lack of a working air conditioner were significant risk factors. Hotter summers in New York City highlight the need to prevent heat illness by increasing access to air conditioning and increase awareness of heat dangers, risk factors and protective measures among vulnerable people and their caregivers. Summer heat can be life threatening, especially for vulnerable people without home air conditioning.  Heat illness is preventable. During heat waves, older adults and people with chronic conditions have an increase susceptibility to heat and should stay hydrated and use air conditioning, or spend time in places that are air conditioned. Caregivers should frequently check in on those at risk.

2. Fatal West Nile Virus Infection Following Probable Transfusion-Associated Transmission—Colorado, 2012

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Starting in 2003, the U.S. blood supply has been screened for West Nile virus.  Since then, approximately 3,500 West Nile virus-infected units have been removed from the blood supply and only 12 cases of transfusion-associated transmission of West Nile virus have been identified. This report describes the first probable case of transfusion-associated West Nile virus infection in which the donation was negative by individual nucleic acid testing on initial screening. The case occurred in an immunosuppressed patient who was likely more susceptible to infection at very low concentrations of West Nile virus in the transfused blood product. Transfusion-associated West Nile virus infections are rare.  However, healthcare providers should consider West Nile virus disease in any patient with compatible symptoms who has received a blood transfusion during the 28 days before the onset of illness.  Possible cases should be promptly reported to the blood collection agency and public health authorities.

3. CDC Grand Rounds: Public Health Approaches to Reducing U.S. Infant Mortality

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Infant mortality, defined as the death of a live-born infant before his or her first birthday, remains a challenge in a technology-rich United States.  Racial and geographic disparities persist with African-American infants dying at nearly twice the rate of white-non Hispanic infants. Thirteen southern states comprise the majority of the states in the top quartile for infant mortality in the U.S.  These infant deaths are mostly a consequence of pre-term birth, birth defects, adverse maternal health conditions, labor and delivery complications, lack of access to appropriate care at the time of delivery, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), and infection.  Recent national and regional collaborations provide promising opportunities to improve the health of mothers before, during and after pregnancy and thus prevent many infant deaths. There are still many opportunities to reduce infant deaths in the U.S. by improving the health of women, prior to conception, eliminating the risk of smoking during pregnancy, eliminating elective preterm deliveries, providing safe infant sleep environments, and making sure that high-risk infants are born at the right place to provide the best care.

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