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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Click here for the full MMWR articles.

1. Trends in Excess Dietary Sodium Intake — United States, 2003–2010

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Over the past decade, sodium consumption in the United States has changed very little but the amount in our diet is still way too high. A new CDC study takes an in-depth look at overall sodium consumption in the United States over the past decade. The study found very little has changed – most of us are eating way too much salt.  Researchers say about eight in 10 preschool children and more than nine of 10 older children and adults consume too much sodium in their diet. Excess sodium is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, two of the nation’s leading causes of death. Most of the sodium in the American diet is already added to processed and restaurant foods, rather than from the salt shaker. The study suggests sodium reduction is a major public health priority, and other research indicates even moderate reductions in sodium intake could save lives.              

2. Outbreak of Staphylococcal Food Poisoning from a Military Unit Lunch Party — United States, July 2012

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Proper food handling practice information should continue to be communicated and emphasized, especially among food workers and also among the general public. Twenty-two cases of staphylococcal intoxication associated with a military lunch party reported in this study, highlight the value and importance of immediate public health outbreak response, add to the understanding of food poisoning caused by S. aureus, and confirm the need to communicate better food safety practices to both food workers and the general public.

3. Outbreak of Escherichia coli O104:H4 Infections Associated with Sprout Consumption — Europe and North America, May–July 2011

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High-quality public health infrastructure allows for comprehensive responses and rapid control of outbreaks that might involve similarly rare pathogens. Although STEC O157 is an often-identified pathogen, illnesses involving non-O157 serogroups are increasingly recognized. During May–July 2011, a large outbreak of STEC O104:H4 occurred in Europe and North America that was associated with consumption of raw fenugreek sprouts.  Surveillance conducted in the United States during the outbreak identified six cases associated with the outbreak, including four cases complicated by hemolytic uremic syndrome.  None of these patients recalled consumption of sprouts. Sustaining and enhancing capacity for systematic disease surveillance, laboratory functions, and epidemiologic and traceback investigations will be critical in confronting future challenges related to known and novel pathogens.

4. Update: Influenza Activity — United States, September 29–December 7, 2013

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During September 29—December 7, the US experienced increasing levels of influenza activity.  To prevent influenza and its associated complications, influenza vaccination is recommended in all person aged ≥ 6 months.  Health-care providers should offer vaccine to all unvaccinated persons aged ≥ 6 months now and throughout the influenza season. Influenza activity so far this season has increased during the most recent weeks and is expected to continue to increase in the coming weeks. During September 29–December 7, 2013, pH1N1 viruses were identified most frequently in the United States, but influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B viruses also were reported. Antigenic characterization of influenza-positive respiratory specimens submitted to CDC indicates that  the vast majority of these isolates tested were antigenically like the components of the 2013–14 Northern Hemisphere trivalent influenza vaccine viruses and that all of these isolates tested were antigenically like the components of the 2013–14 Northern Hemisphere quadrivalent influenza vaccine viruses.

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