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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks — United States, 2007

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Phone: (404) 639-3286

Foodborne illnesses are an important cause of disease in the United States. This report summarizes data from foodborne disease outbreaks occurring during 2007 and reported by states and territories to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A total of 1,097 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported, resulting in 21,244 cases of foodborne illness and 18 deaths. Among outbreaks with a single, laboratory-confirmed agent reported, norovirus was the most common, followed by Salmonella. Among the 235 outbreaks attributed to a food item belonging to a single food commodity, the top commodities to which outbreak-related illnesses were attributed were poultry (17 percent), beef (16 percent), and leafy vegetables (14 percent). Public health, regulatory, and agricultural professionals can use this information to support control and prevention efforts. Timely investigation and reporting of foodborne outbreaks can provide information that may help to reduce foodborne illnesses.

2. CDC Grand Rounds: More Opportunities to Prevent Neural Tube Defects with Folic Acid Fortification

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
Phone: (404) 639-3286

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth defects of the brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida) that occur in early pregnancy. These birth defects may cause babies to die within days of birth or live with serious, life-long disabilities. In 1995-1996, about 4,000 pregnancies were affected by an NTD in the United States. This number declined to about 3,000 pregnancies in 1999-2000 following fortification of enriched cereal grain products with folic acid. Worldwide, there are between 300,000 and 350,000 children born with NTDs annually. In the United States, Hispanic women continue to have approximately a 10-15 percent higher risk of having a baby born with an NTD compared to white non-Hispanic women. Targeted ways to lower the risk of having a baby with an NTD among this population could include the fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid. Fortification of staple foods with folic acid is a feasible, economical, safe, and effective public health policy to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine worldwide and could lead to the prevention of more than 150,000 – 175,000 NTDs per year worldwide.

3. Completion of National Laboratory Inventories for Wild Poliovirus Containment — WHO Region of the Americas, March 2010

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
Phone: (404) 639-3286

With progress toward eradication of wild poliovirus transmission since 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been assisting member countries in starting the process leading to laboratory containment of wild poliovirus. Previously, countries in the European and Western Pacific regions of WHO completed Phase I of this process, a comprehensive survey and an inventory of facilities holding wild poliovirus or infected samples. Following surveys and inventories conducted by 43 countries and territories in the Region of the Americas and voluntary destruction of some materials, 215 facilities in nine countries of the Americas (including 180 in the United States) reported retaining wild poliovirus as of March 2010. Completion of the survey and inventory in three polio-free WHO regions provides a solid base for subsequent steps toward final containment once interruption of wild poliovirus transmission is achieved. Like smallpox, laboratory containment of wild poliovirus (and potentially infectious stored samples) in safe conditions is essential to minimize the risk for reintroducing wild poliovirus into poliomyelitis-free communities after eradication. Completion of the first phase toward laboratory containment in the Americas, Europe and Asia is a major advance in preparation of polio eradication.



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