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MMWR News Synopsis for May 28, 2015

No MMWR telebriefing scheduled for
May 28, 2015

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Full MMWR articles



Use of Tobacco Tax Stamps to Prevent and Reduce Illicit Tobacco Trade — United States, 2014

CDC Media Relations

Illicit trade undermines tobacco control efforts and might contribute to health disparities. Comprehensive tax stamping policies could enhance U.S. efforts to reduce illicit trade, thereby increasing revenues as well as protecting public health and reducing smoking by stopping illegal cigarette sales. Increasing tobacco products’ unit price is the most effective tobacco prevention and control intervention. Illicit tobacco trade can undermine high tobacco prices by providing tobacco users with cheaper-priced alternatives. Tobacco tax stamping could further support efforts to prevent and reduce illicit trade. A comprehensive tax stamping approach includes using digital, encrypted (high-tech) stamps; applying stamps to all tobacco products, including cigarette-equivalent products like little cigars and roll-your-own tobacco; and working with Native American tribes on stamping agreements for tribally sold products. As of January 1, 2014, most states used traditional, paper (low-tech) stamps that are easy-to-counterfeit. Many states did not explicitly require stamps on cigarette-equivalent products, and approximately two thirds of states with federal reservation land had not negotiated codified agreements that permit tobacco stamping of tribally sold products.


Approaches for Controlling Illicit Tobacco Trade — Nine Countries

CDC Media Relations

Continued adoption of the methods outlined in the WHO FCTC Illicit Trade Protocol can improve the global capacity to reduce illicit trade in tobacco products. Illicit trade undermines tobacco prevention and control initiatives by increasing the accessibility and affordability of tobacco products. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products provides tools for addressing illicit tobacco trade through a package of regulatory and governing principles. Understanding differences across countries in approaches for addressing illicit tobacco trade is important for assessing country-specific needs and identifying best practices in addressing illicit trade.  There is diversity in the adoption of anti-illicit-trade measures by countries, demonstrating cross-country similarities and differences in main approaches relative to WHO FCTC Illicit Trade Protocol standards.


Occupational Fatalities During an Oil and Gas Boom — United States, 2003–2013

CDC Media Relations

The worker fatality rate in the oil and gas extraction industry significantly decreased during 2003-2013, a time of dramatic growth, despite an increase in the number of fatalities. A new NIOSH analysis found the oil and gas extraction industry experienced a 36% decrease in the worker fatality rate among workers from 2003-2013, despite a time of dramatic growth and an increase in the number of worker fatalities. NIOSH analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to describe trends in worker deaths in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry. During 2003-2013, the workforce more than doubled and the number of drilling rigs increased by 71%. The worker fatality rate resulting from contact with objects and equipment experienced the greatest decrease while transportation incidents continue to be the leading cause of death. NIOSH recommends implementing effective safety measures that target the most frequent fatal events and enhancing surveillance activities in this industry.


Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease Among Children — American Samoa, 2011–2012

Amanda Beaudoin
University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD), an irreversible condition that might result from inadequately treated Strep throat, is expected to have a considerable lifelong health impact on children in American Samoa, where it is approximately 10 times more common than in the continental United States. Establishment of a coordinated Strep throat and RHD control program might efficiently and cost-effectively help to reduce the burden of RHD in American Samoa. Inadequately treated group A streptococcal pharyngitis (“Strep throat”) can lead to acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and subsequent rheumatic heart disease (RHD), both found at high rates among children in the South Pacific. Long-term penicillin antibiotic injections are effective in preventing recurrent ARF and development of RHD. This report describes continued high rates of ARF and RHD in American Samoa. In August 2013, RHD point prevalence (3.2 per 1,000 children) in American Samoa was approximately 10 times that estimated for industrialized countries. Establishment of a coordinated program to improve Strep throat diagnosis and treatment and compliance with penicillin injections might reduce the ARF and RHD burden among children in American Samoa.


Notes from the Field: 

Outbreak of Skin Lesions Among High School Wrestlers — Arizona, 2014