MMWR News Synopsis for October 30, 2014
Incidence of Hansen’s Disease — United States, 1994–2011
CDC Media Relations
Hansen’s Disease (HD, better known as leprosy) continues to occur in the United States, especially in people born outside of the United States and early diagnosis and treatment can stop the morbidity associated with this disabling disease. HD is a bacterial infection that causes a chronic disease affecting the skin and nerves. If untreated, HD can progress to a severely debilitating disease with nerve damage, tissue destruction, and functional loss. HD continues to affect people in the United States and many physicians are unaware of HD’s continued presence in this country. The majority of cases occur in people who were born outside of the United States and emigrated later in life, yet many new cases are diagnosed in people who were born and raised in the United States. Early recognition and treatment of this disease in foreign and native born persons will help prevent disability in those who are infected.
Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Afghanistan and Pakistan, January 2013–August 2014
CDC Media Relations
Interruption of wild poliovirus (WPV) circulation in two of the remaining endemic countries, Afghanistan and Nigeria, is within reach. However, risks of importations from Pakistan continue to threaten the Middle East and Asia. Unless Pakistan makes significant improvements to its program and controls WPV spread within its borders, the global efforts to eradicate polio will be undermined. Every year that eradication is delayed could cost the world up to 1 billion dollars. Afghanistan and Pakistan are two of three countries (including Nigeria) where circulation of WPV has never been interrupted. Conflict in both countries has made it difficult for vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine. To eradicate polio and prevent outbreaks, all children must be vaccinated. Both Afghanistan and Nigeria have made significant stride towards control of WPV circulation, but continued vigilance and improved efforts to reach unvaccinated children is needed. The situation in Pakistan is worse in 2014 than it was in 2013. More than four times as many children were crippled with polio this year than last year and the case counts keep climbing. Unless Pakistan makes significant improvements to its program to vaccinate children, the global polio eradication goals will not be met.
Notes from the Field
Update on Lyme Carditis, Groups at High Risk, and Frequency of Associated Sudden Cardiac Death — United States