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MMWR News Synopsis for February 9, 2017


Prevalence and Clinical Attributes of Congenital Microcephaly — New York, 2013–2015

CDC Media Relations

During 2013–2015, prior to documented widespread introduction of Zika virus in the continental United States, the prevalence of severe congenital microcephaly in New York was 4.2 per 10,000 live births, though there were racial/ethnic differences in microcephaly prevalence. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause severe congenital microcephaly. During 2013–2015, before known importation of Zika virus infections in the continental United States, 284 newborns in New York met the CDC/National Birth Defect Prevention Network case definition for severe congenital microcephaly, a prevalence of 4.2 per 10,000 live births. This prevalence estimate will enable public health officials to compare differences in severe congenital microcephaly prevalence after the importation of Zika virus infections in New York. A racial/ethnic difference in microcephaly prevalence was also found. The proportion of newborns with severe congenital microcephaly that was black or Hispanic was higher than what would have been expected based on racial and ethnic distributions for all live births in New York.

Elevated Blood Lead Levels Associated with Retained Bullet Fragments — United States, 2003–2012

CDC Media Relations

Retained bullets are infrequently reported but can be an important cause of lead toxicity. Persons with elevated blood lead levels associated with retained bullets might benefit from counseling on lead and its health effects and the importance of periodic BLL monitoring. An estimated 115,000 firearm injuries occur annually in the United States. Most injuries are not fatal and can result in retained bullets or bullet fragments. These retained bullets are an infrequently reported, but important cause of lead poisoning. States collaborate with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to monitor elevated blood lead levels in adults. Blood lead testing is commonly done to assess for lead exposure in high-risk occupations. However, routine testing of adults with retained bullets is not commonly done. During 2003–2012, a total of 145,811 adults with BLLs ≥10 µg/dL were reported to states. Among these, 457 cases associated with retained bullets were identified. Seventeen cases of lead poisoning due to retained bullets had highly elevated BLLs of ≥80 µg/dL. There is no safe level of lead in blood; negative health effects can occur at blood lead levels as low as 5 µg/dL. Symptoms resulting from elevated BLLs can vary widely from person to person and are often vague. Patients with retained bullets might benefit from counseling on lead and its health effects. Medical providers should consider periodic monitoring of blood lead levels in these patients.

Notes from the Field:

  • Cluster of Tuberculosis Among Marshallese Persons Residing in Arkansas — 2014–2015

Quick Stats:

  • Percentage of Adults Aged ≥45 Years Who Had Hearing Difficulty and Found It Very Difficult or Were Unable to Go Shopping or Attend Movies or Sporting Events, by Degree of Hearing Difficulty and Sex — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2014–2015



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