MMWR News Synopsis for January 14, 2016
Acute Gastroenteritis on Cruise Ships — United States, 2008–2014
CDC Media Relations
People often associate cruise ships with acute gastroenteritis illness, but acute gastroenteritis illness is relatively infrequent on cruise ships. Between 2008 and 2014, about 74 million passengers sailed on cruise ships in U.S. jurisdiction. During that time, 129,678 of these passengers met the program’s case definition for acute gastroenteritis illness. Only a small proportion of those acute gastroenteritis illness cases (1 in 10) were part of a norovirus outbreak. From 2008 to 2014, the rate of acute gastroenteritis on cruise ships decreased among passengers from 27.2 cases per 100,000 travel days in 2008 to 22.3 in 2014, while the rate among crew members was essentially unchanged. To further reduce acute gastroenteritis on cruise ships, travelers should practice good hand hygiene, especially after using the toilet and before touching the face or eating. Passengers and crew members with diarrhea or vomiting should promptly report their illness for proper assessment, treatment, and monitoring.
Sudden Deaths Among Oil and Gas Extraction Workers Resulting from Oxygen Deficiency and Inhalation of Hydrocarbon Gases and Vapors — United States, January 2010–March 2015
Robert Harrison, MD, MPH
Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Oil and gas extraction workers should be aware of, and protected from, life-threatening exposure to hydrocarbon gases and vapors and low oxygen atmospheres. Oil and gas extraction has been known for years as dangerous work, with high rates of workplace fatalities. Now researchers from the University of California San Francisco, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration report that oil and gas field workers can die suddenly from high exposures to hydrocarbon gases and vapors (HGVs) along with oxygen-deficient atmospheres. This can happen when these workers open a hatch to sample or measure the contents of oil and gas tanks. In many of the reported cases, employers and workers were not aware that these high concentrations of HGVs and oxygen-deficient atmospheres were life threatening and could cause immediate loss of consciousness and/or abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death. There are many steps that employers can take to reduce or eliminate this hazard, including alternative fluid sample collection points, remote monitoring of fluid levels, proper use of gas monitors, respiratory protection meeting OSHA requirements, and worker training.
Notes from the Field:
- Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis Death — Oregon, 2015
- Percentage of Adults with Activity Limitations, by Age Group and Type of Limitation — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2014