MMWR News Synopsis for October 8, 2015

No MMWR telebriefing scheduled for
October 8, 2015

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HIV Diagnoses Among Hispanics/Latinos — United States, 2008–2013

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Despite an overall decline in new HIV diagnoses among Latinos in recent years, diagnoses increased sharply among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). For this analysis, CDC researchers analyzed data on new HIV diagnoses reported to the National HIV Surveillance System from 2008-2013. While the rate of HIV diagnoses declined among Latinos overall during this time period (from 28.3 per 100,000 population to 24.3), the number of diagnoses increased by 16 percent among Latino MSM (from 6,141 to 7,098). The increase among Latino MSM tracks with an overall increase in new infections seen among MSM in previous reports, suggesting a potential resurgence in HIV among this population. HIV diagnoses declined among all other transmission groups, and were either stable or declined among all age groups. Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV infection.In 2013, the rate of HIV diagnosis among Latinos (18.7 per 100,000 population) was nearly three times that of non-Hispanic whites (6.6). Behavioral risk factors among Latinos differed depending on the place of birth, pointing to the importance of tailored HIV prevention strategies that recognize the diversity of the Latino community. To combat HIV among Latinos, the authors underscore the critical need to prioritize testing; care and treatment for people living with HIV; and ensuring those at the highest risk have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and their partners from infection, especially among Latino gay and bisexual men.

CDC Grand Rounds: Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects — Steps to Prevention

CDC Media Relations

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical. In the United States, approximately 3 percent of babies, or about 120,000 babies, are born with a birth defect each year. Birth defects are a leading cause of infant illness and death in the United States. Although our knowledge on the risk factors for some birth defects is growing, the causes of the majority of birth defects are unknown. Researchers have identified certain factors that might increase the risk for some specific birth defects, such as use of certain medications in early pregnancy, maternal smoking during early pregnancy, maternal diabetes before pregnancy, and maternal obesity. Research indicates that reducing exposure to these risks might prevent a large number of birth defects each year. Public health research provides the opportunity to develop interventions that can substantially reduce the number of major birth defects each year in the United States. Watch the CDC Grand Rounds video to learn more:

Establishment of an Ebola Treatment Unit and Laboratory — Bombali District, Sierra Leone, July 2014–January 2015

CDC Media Relations

Establishment of Ebola treatment units and laboratories at the onset of an Ebola outbreak, in conjunction with other well-established control measures, might prevent rapid escalation of Ebola cases and contribute to outbreak control. Bombali district was among the hardest hit districts in Sierra Leone in the ongoing Ebola epidemic, but outbreak control was achieved. Improvements in timeliness of Ebola control measures were seen after the establishment of an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) and laboratory in Bombali; however, these facilities were not available until five months after the outbreak began there. Data from the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever database revealed that after the establishment of the ETU and laboratory in Bombali, the processes for initiating case investigations and determining laboratory results for Ebola patients occurred more rapidly, which coincided with outbreak control. These findings support that establishing capacity for Ebola testing, isolation, and treatment at the onset of an outbreak, is a critical component of outbreak control.

Update: Shortened Interval for Postvaccination Serologic Testing of Infants Born to Hepatitis B-Infected Mothers

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

CDC recommends a shortened interval for post-vaccination serologic testing (PVST) of infants born to hepatitis B virus (HBV) positive mothers to minimize the possibility for unnecessary revaccination. An estimated 25,000 infants are born to HBV-positive mothers each year in the United States. However, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is highly effective in preventing perinatal HBV transmission; only 1 percent of infants receiving PEP develop infection. Infants born to HBV-infected mothers should receive hepatitis B vaccine (consisting of a 3- or 4-dose series) and hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 hours of birth to prevent perinatal HBV transmission. In order to determine whether the infant requires revaccination, PVST was previously recommended at age 9-18 months. Because new evidence suggests that hepatitis B antibody levels decline following vaccination, CDC now recommends that PVST take place earlier – at age 9-12 months, or 1-2 months after the final dose of the hepatitis B vaccine series – in order to ensure antibodies are detected. Benefits to this shortened interval include a reduction in the time that non-responders are at risk for transmission from close contacts with HBV infection, opportunity for prompt revaccination when needed, and conservation of public health resources.word icon Additionally, the authors note that a shortened interval might increase adherence with recommendations for timely completion of PVST.

Notes from the Field: 

Severe Illness Associated with Reported Use of Synthetic Cannabinoids — Mississippi, April 2015

Measles Exposure and Presumed Immunity — Los Angeles County, 2015



Page last reviewed: October 8, 2015