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News and Features

This page provides links to this year’s EHS spotlight and news articles.

Quick links to past EHS spotlight and news articles by year:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

2016 News Items

Spotlight Features

Webinar on Lessons Learned from Mass Chlorine Exposures at Recreational Swimming Pools - View the November webinar and other resources from the Model Aquatic Health Code Network.

CMAHC Seeking Committee Volunteers - Apply by Nov. 11 to lend your recreational water expertise to improve the health and safety of pools!

NEHA Recruiting Health Departments To Host Interns - Does your health department need help next summer? Apply by Dec. 1 to host an environmental health intern from an accredited program. Watch a video featuring past interns.

EH2O Recreational Waters Virtual Conference - Join in on Jan. 18-19, 2017! Topics include the Model Aquatic Health Code, research on aquatic facilities, new technologies in recreational water, and more.

New Study on Restaurant-Associated Outbreaks - Food workers are a main cause of foodborne disease outbreaks in restaurants. Read about the sources and causes of these outbreaks based on 15 years of data reported to CDC.

Environmental Health Resources by Essential Services [PDF - 206 KB] - The 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services identify the actions necessary to protect and improve environmental public health. In this article, Elaine Curtiss lists tools and resources organized by these services to help your program fill performance gaps. This article was published in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health.

EPA Webinar on Protecting Students from Mosquitoes and the Zika Virus at School - Learn about mosquitoes of concern to schools, interim CDC guidance for schools on Zika virus, and what a school district in Florida is doing to reduce mosquito populations.

A Performance Management Initiative for Local Health Department Vector Control Programs - Read the article about an adaptable process for assessing and improving the performance of your vector control program.

History, Mystery, and Discovery: 40 Years of Legionnaires’ Disease - It’s not too late to view the archived webinar! Scientists discuss experiences from early investigations, how they solved the 2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in New York City, and more insights from the 40-year history of this disease.

Watch the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) Network’s Most Popular Webinar Yet - The September webinar featured representatives from Neptune Benson, Great Wolf Resorts, and YMCA discussing the industry’s perspective on the MAHC. Visit the MAHC Network webpage for more archived webinars and to become a member.

New Blog about CDC’s Updated Pool Code Guidance - Learn about the 2016 MAHC and tools for pool programs in this post by the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

September Is National Food Safety Education Month - Find free food safety resources for environmental health practitioners, including research, training, infographics, and reports.

New Study on What Restaurant Staff Think about Food Allergies - Our Environmental Health Specialist Network (EHS-Net) study found that restaurant staff were familiar with food allergies and had positive attitudes about accommodating customers with food allergies. However, we found important gaps.

New Study on Microwave Cooking Practices in Restaurants - CDC EHS-Net grantee in Minnesota examined microwave cooking practices of restaurants and other food service establishments in their state.

National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) Summary Report [PDF - 445 KB] - Our first NEARS Summary Report provides information on outbreak characteristics, investigations, primary agents, contributing factors, and establishment characteristics. This information is useful for learning about how outbreaks occur and how to prevent them in the future.

Assessing Food Service Regulations and the Correlation with Prevention of Norovirus Outbreaks - A new article in the Journal of Food Protection examines state adoption of key Food Code provisions and their correlation with norovirus outbreaks.

Infographic on Kitchen Manager Certification [PDF - 379 KB] - Learn how certified kitchen managers can improve restaurant food safety and save money.

Improving Food Safety Through Prevention: CDC’s Food Safety Prevention Status Report [PDF - 388 KB] - As part of National Food Safety Education Month, we are highlighting the food safety Prevention Status Reports (PSRs). In this column, CDC’s Lauren Lipcsei and Anita Kambhampati discuss how the food safety PSR measures the status of select practices and policies that can help states prevent or reduce foodborne illness risk. 

2016 Model Aquatic Health Code Released - This second edition of the MAHC includes important updates to the first edition released in 2014. The 2016 MAHC includes structural changes, clarifying edits, and new or revised provisions in the areas of disinfection and water quality, lifeguarding and bather supervision, risk management and safety, and ventilation and air quality.

Legionnaires’ Disease Resources for Environmental Health Professionals - Explore Legionella resources for environmental health practitioners, including a Vital Signs report and infographic, environmental sampling videos, toolkit for developing a water management plan, and more.

Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease: Environmental Health Expertise Is Key [PDF - 472 KB] - Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhaling aerosolized water droplets containing Legionella bacteria, most often found in human-made water systems and cooling towers. In this column, CDC’s Jasen Kunz and Laura Cooley discuss the vital role environmental health plays in preventing this disease and responding to outbreaks. 

CDC Vital Signs Report: Legionnaires’ Disease on the Rise - Environmental health expertise is key to preventing Legionnaires’ disease and responding to outbreaks. In this Vital Signs, new tools and information are available for environmental health professionals to help local building owners and managers carry out Legionella water management programs based on newly published standards. These tools include a practical guide for developing a Legionella water management program, infographic fact sheet, and more.

Safe Water for Community Health (Safe WATCH) - About 1 in 9 American residents get their drinking water from a private well, and about 1 in 5 sampled private wells were found to be contaminated at levels considered unsafe. CDC encourages health departments to strengthen and improve their drinking water programs to keep communities safe. Our new drinking water improvement program has steps to improve your drinking water program and free tools and resources to help.

Vector Control Tools and Resources for Environmental Health Professionals [PDF - 373 KB] - Environmental health professionals are on the frontline of helping individuals, institutions, and communities reduce threats from mosquitoes, ticks, and other vectors. In this column, author Kelli Foster discusses training and other resources designed to advance environmental health professionals’ awareness of public health threats posed by vectors and pests. 

Register Today for the Next Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) Network Webinar - This bimonthly webinar will be Tuesday, May 17, at 1:00 pm EDT. The topic for this webinar is “Considering MAHC Adoption: First Steps” featuring guest speaker Jim Rada, Director of Environmental Health Services for Jefferson County Public Health, Colorado. The MAHC Network is a community for MAHC users, subject-matter experts, and those hoping to learn about the code.

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Toolkit - Swim season is right around the corner, and so is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week (May 23-29). Get an early peek at CDC’s toolkit for this observance and make this summer the healthiest swim season yet.

Update from the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (and Why You Should Join) [PDF - 215 KB] - The CMAHC comprises members from public health and the aquatics industry who are committed to keeping the MAHC current, sustainable, and easily understood and implemented. In this column, guest author and CMAHC President Doug Sackett discusses the 1st Biennial CMAHC Conference and the future of the MAHC. 

New CDC Study: How Often Retail Delis Clean Their Slicers - What percentage of delis clean their slicers as often as FDA recommends to prevent germs from spreading? Check out our new study, published in CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and our plain language summary to find out!

New Emergency Response Training for Environmental Health Professionals [PDF - 236 KB] - Environmental health practitioners perform many critical functions during emergency response and recovery. In this column, CDC’s Martin Kalis and FEMA’s Bernice Zaidel discuss the new Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) Operations-level course, including what students will learn, and what past students thought. Learn more about the new Operations course, including how to register.

EHS Resources Organized by 10 Essential Services - We are excited to announce our latest addition to the EHS website! Find tools here to help your program fill performance gaps and contribute to larger performance improvement efforts such as voluntary public health accreditation.

EEK: Vectors and Public Health Pests Virtual Conference - Registration is OPEN! This free conference (April 13-14) is brought to you by National Environmental Health Association and sponsored by CDC. Conference topics include rodents, ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs; integrated pest management; emerging vectors and vectorborne diseases; new technologies in vector and pest control; climate change and vectors; lessons learned; inspection successes; and stories from the field. Register Today!

CDC Report Highlights State Food Safety Practices - These reports highlight the status of state public health policies and practices designed to impact important public health issues, including food safety. Read the reports and check out the new food safety indicator on state adoption of selected foodborne disease-related provisions from the 2013 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code.

CDC’s Drought Guidance: Your Public Health Resource for Understanding and Preparing for Drought in Your Community - Are drought issues affecting your community, or could they affect your community in the future? In this column, [PDF - 208 KB] Martin Kalis and Elaine Curtiss discuss how CDC’s drought guidance, When Every Drop Counts, can help you understand how drought may impact public health in your community and how to prepare for it. 

Rodent Control Program Profiles - Read these profiles describing best practices, challenges, and technical assistance needs of local rodent control programs (produced in collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials).

Preventing Foodborne Illness Infographic - Download our new infographic [PDF - 2 MB] to learn how we help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks by understanding the environmental factors contributing to them. Note: This infographic has been revised to clarify and improve one of the graphics.

Acute Gastroenteritis Illness on Cruise Ships - The rate of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) illness on cruise ships has decreased over time, yet people often associate cruise ships with these illnesses. Read more from CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program in a new MMWR article or on VSP’s companion webpage.

Community Environmental Health Activism in South Gate, Los Angeles County, CA - Recently, the community of South Gate, California, used the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health to identify environmental health issues and take action to address them. This blog post discusses the outcome of this assessment and how the local community is responding.

January/February JEH Column: Parks: An Opportunity to Leverage Environmental Health [PDF - 346 KB] - Public health and parks and recreation departments have many synergistic goals that could be leveraged to make both more effective. In this column, Dee Merriam shares resources and a series of questions environmental health staff can use to explore collaboration opportunities with their local parks and recreation programs.

e-learning on Environmental Assessments of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks - Check out our short video promoting CDC’s fun, free, and interactive e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks. The skills needed to participate in an outbreak investigation are different from those needed to inspect restaurants, and the role of environmental health staff is critical. View the video to learn why you should register for this training today.

Legionella Website with Videos & Other Outbreak Resources - CDC has developed a number of resources on this website to help health departments investigate legionellosis outbreaks in their area, including 6 short environmental investigation videos, an environmental assessment form, sampling procedures, and other Legionella outbreak investigation resources for health departments. Also, check out December 2015's JEH cover story, Legionnaire’s Disease Outbreak at a Long-Term Care Facility [PDF - 689 KB], for more information on a recent outbreak and how investigators resolved the situation.

Summer Program in Environmental Health (SUPEH) - SUPEH is a paid 10-week internship for students majoring in environmental health in a program accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC). Interns gain environmental health experience and an understanding of environmental health work at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.

Enhancing Environmental Health Knowledge (EEK): Vectors & Public Health Pests Virtual Conference - Join other environmental health professionals for this virtual conference sponsored by the National Environmental Health Association with support from CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch. 

Earlier news items are available on the News and Features Archive page.

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