MMWR News Synopsis for April 17, 2014

MMWR telebriefing scheduled for
April 17, 2014 at Noon ET

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Full MMWR articles

Coccidioidomycosis Among Cast and Crew Members at an Outdoor Television Filming — California, 2012

Anita Gore
Deputy Director, Office of Public Affairs
California Department of Public Health
(916) 440-7259

Workers, employers, and medical providers should recognize that employees can be exposed to Valley Fever even if they are not directly engaged in soil disruptive work.  In 2012, more than 4,000 Californians were diagnosed with Valley Fever, a potentially serious disease caused by inhaling fungal spores common in Central and Southern California.  Occupationally acquired Valley Fever most often occurs in people whose work involves digging or working in soil, such as construction workers, military personnel, or archaeologists.  However, this study highlights Valley Fever in a group of workers whose occupations do not typically put them at risk of Valley Fever exposure. —The study reports on several members of the cast and crew of a popular TV series who became ill shortly after filming outdoor scenes in Ventura County.  Workers, employers, and medical providers should be aware that employees working outdoors in Coccidioides (a fungus that lives in soils)prevalent areas might be exposed to Valley Fever from recent soil disturbances or windy conditions, even if they are not working in the soil.

Blood Lead Levels Among Children Aged 1–5 Years — Zamfara State, Nigeria, June–July 2012

CDC Media Relations

Much has been done to address the problems of lead exposure in Zamfara, Nigeria, since the lead poisoning crisis of 2010. New and safer processing techniques that control dust and residual ore wastes, a better understanding of potential exposure to lead contaminated foodstuffs, continued blood lead surveillance, chelation therapy when warranted and environmental cleanup of hazardous sites remain critical.  Since 2010, Nigerian government officials and the international community have responded to childhood lead poisoning caused by the processing of lead-containing gold ore in Zamfara State, Nigeria. Widespread education, surveys of high-risk villages, testing and surveillance of blood lead levels (BLLs), medical treatment, and environmental clean-up have all been implemented. To evaluate the current prevalence of lead poisoning and dangerous work practices, a population-based assessment of children’s blood lead levels and ore processing techniques was conducted during June–July 2012. Unlike earlier studies, this assessment found few children in need of medical treatment, lower average BLLs, and less exposure of children to dangerous work practices. Although work remains, when these strategies are successfully implemented, a sustained reduction of blood lead levels in children is possible.

Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 Sites, 2006–2013

CDC Media Relations

The partnership of state public health and community organizations can play an Progress in preventing foodborne illnesses has been limited. Salmonella infections decreased slightly in 2013 compared with the preceding 3 years, and are back to levels seen in 2006–2008. The frequency of most other infections tracked in Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) has not changed much at all; however, Vibrio infections increased in 2013. These findings highlight the need to continue to identify and address food safety gaps that can be targeted for action.Foodborne diseases continue to be an important public health problem in the United States. Progress in preventing these infections has been limited in recent years, as evidenced by a modest decrease in the incidence of Salmonella and an increase in incidence of Vibrio. FoodNet, a foodborne disease surveillance component of CDC’s Emerging Infections Program, conducts surveillance in 10 U.S. sites for all laboratory-confirmed infections caused by selected pathogens transmitted commonly through food to help assess whether efforts to decrease illnesses are succeeding. This report describes 2013 surveillance data and trends since 2006; the information contributes to our understanding of the human health impact of foodborne diseases.

Concerns Regarding a New Culture Method for Borrelia burgdorferi Not Approved for the Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

CDC Media Relations

Some tests for Lyme disease are not adequately validated and can be misleading to patients and health care providers. Recently, CDC has received inquiries regarding a test that uses a novel culture method to identify Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease.  Published methods and results for this test were reviewed by CDC. The review raised serious concerns about false-positive results caused by laboratory contamination and the potential for misdiagnosis and improper treatment of patients. This situation highlights the importance of FDA clearance/approval of diagnostic tests, which provides assurance that the test itself has adequate analytical and clinical validation and is safe and effective.  CDC recommends that laboratory tests cleared by FDA be used to aid in the routine diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Notes from the Field

  • Assessment of Disease Exposures at an Annual Bat Festival — Idanre, Nigeria
  • Increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus Infections Associated with Consumption of Atlantic Coast Shellfish — 2013



Page last reviewed: April 17, 2014