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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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1. CDC’s Emergency Management Program Activities — Worldwide, 2003–2012

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For the past ten years, the Emergency Management Program (EMP) has been a crucial component of CDC’s ability to respond to public health emergencies, and continues to be an effective, flexible asset for protecting public health. CDC is dedicated to protecting the nation’s health 24/7, and this means responding to everything from infectious disease outbreaks to mass gatherings.  CDC’s EMP brings together the staff and resources needed to respond to health threats, and operates CDC’s state of the art emergency operations center. Between 2003 and 2012, the EMP led a full response to 55 public health emergencies. The EMP provided support to deployed staff, facilitated rapid information exchange, and provided a leadership framework for all responders.  The EMP’s resources were used for an additional 109 emergency events, providing call center capacity and travel assistance. 

2. Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water — United States, 2009–2010

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The drinking water outbreaks reported during this surveillance period highlight emerging and persisting public health challenges associated with drinking water systems, including Legionella in building plumbing systems, contamination of untreated ground water in public water systems and private wells, and deficiencies in the public drinking water system infrastructure. Outbreaks associated with building plumbing systems highlight the need for interventions to reduce the growth of pathogens within plumbing systems. Continuing the trends observed in recent years, the number of outbreaks in the federally regulated portions of public water systems has declined. However, when outbreaks occur in public water systems, they can result in many illnesses, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the safety of the public water supply. Despite advances in water management and sanitation, waterborne disease outbreaks continue to occur in the United States. During 2009–2010, the most recent years for which finalized data are available, 33 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported to CDC, comprising 1,040 cases of illness, 85 hospitalizations, and nine deaths. Legionella accounted for 58 percent of outbreaks and 7 percent of illnesses, and Campylobacter accounted for 12 percent of outbreaks and 78 percent of illnesses. The most commonly identified outbreak deficiencies were Legionella in plumbing systems (57.6 percent), untreated ground water (24.2 percent), and distribution system deficiencies (12.1 percent). Efforts to identify and correct these deficiencies could prevent outbreaks and illnesses. Additional research is needed to understand the interventions that are most effective for controlling growth of Legionella and reducing outbreaks of legionellosis.

3. Notes from the Field

  • Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2012
  • Investigation of a Cluster of Neural Tube Defects — Central Washington, 2010–2013

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