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Synopsis for May 12, 2000

MMWR articles are NOT embargoed this week.

  1. Entry into Prenatal Care — United States, 1989–1997
  2. Scombroid Fish Poisoning — Pennsylvania, 1998

Synopsis for May 12, 2000

Entry into Prenatal Care — United States, 1989–1997

Entry to early prenatal care is improving overall in the U.S., but racial and ethnic disparities persist.

Suzanne Zane, D.V.M.

CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
(770) 488–5187

The percentage of women, who did not obtain prenatal care until after the third month of their pregnancy or had no prenatal care at all, improved from 25% in 1989 to 18% in 1997. Women who receive delayed or no prenatal care are at-risk for having undetected complications of pregnancy, preterm delivery, and low birthweight babies. Despite the overall positive trend, racial and ethnic disparities in prenatal care persist. In 1997, black and Hispanic women were still twice as likely as white women to have delayed or no prenatal care. A survey of 13 states found that more than half of the women with delayed or no prenatal care would like to have had care earlier. Early prenatal care is a cornerstone of safe motherhood programs, and it is important to monitor changes in access to care, better understand the barriers to care, and develop appropriate health services for women.


Scombroid Fish Poisoning — Pennsylvania, 1998

Scombroid poisoning has been associated primarily with eating contaminated tuna, mahi-mahi, and bluefish.

Eileen Dunne, M.D.

CDC, National Center for Infectious Diseases
(404) 639–2206

In December 3, 1998, four adults became ill after eating tuna-spinach salad at a restaurant in Pennsylvania. Test results, made on a sample of the remaining fish, were consistent with scombroid poisoning. Symptoms include a burning sensation in the mouth, a metallic taste, facial blushing, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, and headache. Scombroid poisoning is caused by histamine and other products produced by certain bacteria on some types of fish. From 1988 to 1997, there have been 145 outbreaks of scombroid poisoning reported to CDC; however, many cases probably are not reported. The fish implicated in this outbreak were caught by the long line method of fishing; retrieval may take up to 12-14 hours and fish may be retained on lines up to 20 hours. Conditions allowing histamine production could have occurred while the fish were in warm water suspended on the long line.



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