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2013 Year in Review


Photo: An electron micrograph of a thin section of MERS-CoV

An electron micrograph of a thin section of MERS-CoV, showing the spherical particles and cross-sections through the viral nucleocapsid.
Image source: Maureen Metcalfe/Azaibi Tamin

CDC response to the novel coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (NCIRD)

CDC continues to collaborate with global partners to better understand the MERS-CoV, first reported by Saudi Arabia in 2012, and the risks to public health. We have provided information for international travelers and are working with health departments, hospitals, and other partners to prepare for possible cases in the United States.

Coronavirus: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)

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Photo: Electron micrograph of norovirus

Electron micrograph of norovirus.
Courtesy of Dr. Charles Humphrey, CDC

Updated estimates of norovirus disease burden in the U.S. (NCIRD)

A new CDC study shows that each year in the United States there are about 19 to 21 million cases of norovirus illness, about 570 to 800 people die, and many thousands more people are hospitalized and go to emergency rooms and outpatient clinics to get care. This study helps to support the development of intervention strategies, like vaccines, to prevent and control the spread of this contagious stomach virus in the United States. Read the study or listen to a podcast.

CDC: Norovirus

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Foodborne Illness

Photo: A health inspector checks the thermometer in a stainless steel refrigerator

A health inspector checks the thermometer in a stainless steel refrigerator, making sure that the temperature is within the required limits necessary to reduce food spoilage and contamination. Health inspectors are not only concerned with the transmission of pathogenic organisms due to unsanitary conditions, or with toxic substance contamination, but also with the safety precautions to be taken to insure an environment is generally safe.
Amanda Mills

First ever estimates of food sources associated with foodborne illness (Jan. '13) (NCEZID)

In January, CDC published its first-ever estimates of which foods were causing foodborne illnesses in the United States, referred to as Attribution estimates. These estimates help regulators, industry, and consumers more precisely target and implement effective measures to prevent food contamination, and allow people to use it to help guide their own food safety practices.

CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States: Attribution of Foodborne Illness

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NIOSH Smart Phone App

Photo: NIOSH Smart Phone App

Ladder Angle indicator on iPhone

New NIOSH Smart Phone App Addresses Ladder Safety (NIOSH)

Falls from ladders are a common source of preventable construction injuries, and misjudging the ladder angle is a significant risk factor for a fall.  The NIOSH Smart Phone Ladder Safety app provides instant feedback to the user on positioning of the ladder, as well as references and a safety guide for extension ladder selection, inspection, accessorizing, and use.

Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace: Ladder Safety App User’s Manual iOS  l Android

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Nail Gun Safety

Image from "Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety" comic.

Image from "Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety" comic.

Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety (NIOSH)

NIOSH’s first safety comic, Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety, uses the theme of hands-on safety training by telling a story of a young worker getting advice about nail gun safety from a more experienced worker. Nail guns are widely used on many construction jobs, and while they boost productivity, they may also cause tens of thousands of painful injuries each year.

 Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety

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Taxicab Security

Photo: Security camera installed on the rear view mirror of a taxi.

Security camera installed on the rear view mirror of a taxi.

Effectiveness of Taxicab Security Equipment in Reducing Driver Homicide Rates (NIOSH)

Taxi cab drivers face a high risk of being the victim of workplace homicide. A new study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looked at the effectiveness of security cameras and partitions installed in taxicabs and observed a significant drop in the rate of driver homicides in cities that installed in-vehicle security cameras.

Effectiveness of Taxicab Security Equipment in Reducing Driver Homicide Rates [244.5 KB]

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Workplace Violence

Photo: Healthcare workers in a meeting

The workplace violence prevention course is designed to give healthcare workers an opportunity to acquire free workplace violence prevention training while earning free continuing education units.

Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses (NIOSH)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) worked with various stakeholders to develop a free on-line course aimed to train nurses on recognizing and preventing workplace violence. The multi-media training incorporates lesson text, videos depicting workplace violence incidents, testimonials from real nurses, and lesson quizzes; not only does it help to train nurses to prepare for and prevent incidences of violence, but offers free continuing education credits for completing the course.

Workplace Safety & Health Topics: Occupational Violence

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Heartland Virus

Photo: Cross section of a tick

Cross section of a tick

Tracing the newly discovered Heartland Virus to ticks (NCEZID)

NCEZID scientists traced the newly discovered Heartland virus that infected two men from northwestern Missouri to populations of lone star ticks in the region. This discovery provides strong evidence that the virus is persisting from season to season in tick populations and that the ticks play an important role in disease transmission, helping us stay one step ahead of what could become another public health threat carried by ticks.

Division of Vector-Borne Diseases: Heartland Virus

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New Poxvirus

Photo: Lab worker

Poxviruses are viruses that can affect both vertebrate and invertebrate animals and can lead to infections such as sore mouth infection (Orf virus), molluscum contagiosum, and monkeypox.

Identifying a new poxvirus in the Republic of Georgia (NCEZID)

In conjunction with public health officials in the Republic of Georgia, NCEZID helped identify a novel poxvirus (belonging to the same genus as smallpox) that sickened shepherds in Akhmeta, Georgia, an investigation that underscores how collaboration can lead to better emerging disease detection and response. Continuing efforts will focus on developing new diagnostic tests that can help us better understand the potential impact of this new poxvirus on human and animal health.

Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology: Poxvirus and Rabies Branch

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Newborn Screening

Photo: photo: A baby with a pulse oximeter

A baby with a pulse oximeter

Saving Babies through Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects (NCBDDD)

In the US, about 7,200 babies born every year have critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs), which puts them at risk for death and disability. CDC's work this year demonstrated that newborn screening for CCHDs appears to be a lifesaving and cost effective way to find some of these babies early so that they can get care and treatment to live and thrive. 

CDC: Congenital Heart Defects

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Folic Acid

Graphic: Folic acid fortification

There are more than 300,000 neural tube defects worldwide each year. Global folic acid fortification can prevent more than half of these neural tube defects.

Global Folic Acid Initiative (NCBDDD)

Birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects, are a prevalent, severe, and costly global public health challenge; however, many are preventable with daily intake of folic acid among women of reproductive age before and during early pregnancy. Building on the success of preventing neural tube defects through folic acid fortification in many countries, CDC is working with WHO, the Flour Fortification Initiative, and others to expand the reach of this work by increasing the number of countries with fortification policies that include folic acid, improving the health of babies worldwide.

CDC: Folic Acid

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Breastfeeding Rates

Photo: Mother with her baby

By following safe preparation and storage techniques, nursing mothers and caretakers of breastfed infants and children can maintain the high quality of expressed breast milk and the health of the baby.

Breastfeeding report that showed breastfeeding rates continue to increase - (NCCDPHP)

Breastfeeding rates have continued to rise over the past decade, but we still have much more work to do to fully meet the nation’s health goals. Babies who are breastfed have lower risks of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); mothers who breastfeed their babies have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers. Additionally, researchers have calculated that $2.2 billion in yearly medical costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were met.

CDC:  Breastfeeding Report Card 2013          

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New Gonorrhea Treatments

Photo: Paraphanelia associated with a doctor

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, where more than 800,000 gonorrhea infections are estimated to occur each year. Although some men and women may have symptoms (such as discharge or burning when urinating), most people infected with gonorrhea do not. As a result, many infections go undetected and untreated.

Identification of two new promising gonorrhea treatment regimens (NCHHSTP)

This clinical trial was conducted by CDC in partnership with National Institutes of Health to identify new treatment options in the face of growing antibiotic resistance.  Researchers found that two new antibiotic regimens using existing drugs successfully treated gonorrhea infections in the trial.  This is especially important given growing antibiotic resistance and dwindling treatment options for gonorrhea.  However, additional better-tolerated treatment options are still urgently needed.  The findings were presented at the 20th Meeting of The International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research (ISSTDR) in Vienna, Austria and released on July 15, 2013.

Two New Promising Treatment Regimens for Gonorrhea 

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