MMWR News Synopsis for May 11, 2017

State HCV Incidence and Policies Related to HCV Preventive and Treatment Services for Persons Who Inject Drugs

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
News Media Line – 404-639-8895

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) kills more Americans than any other infectious diseases reported to CDC. From 2010-2015, U.S. HCV incidence increased by nearly 300 percent. Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for HCV transmission and is the leading cause of new HCV infections in the U.S. The authors of this analysis examined state laws governing access to safe infection equipment and Medicaid policies related to HCV treatment for people who inject drugs (PWID) in all 50 states and DC. This analysis showed that almost one-third (18) of states had the least developed laws ( that is, these states had not implemented laws to authorize a syringe exchange program, not taken steps to decriminalize the possession and distribution of syringes, and had not explicitly allowed for the retail sale of syringes without a prescription). Nearly half (24) of states were found to require a period of sobriety to receive HCV treatment through Medicaid, which is considered a barrier to treatment access. The 17 states in 2015 with HCV incidence rates higher than the national average had varied laws governing access to comprehensive HCV prevention services. Only three states have laws that support full access to both syringe services programs (SSPs) and hepatitis C-related treatment and preventive services for PWID. Comprehensive SSPs are shown to help stop transmission of HCV infection. These findings can serve as a tool for states to assess what barriers may stand in the way of preventing new HCV infections and for decreasing the disease and economic burden of HCV.

Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Pregnant Women — United States and Tennessee, 2009–2014

Craig Boerner
Program Dir, Public Affairs
Cell 615-479-6374
Office 615-343-7421

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among pregnant women are increasing nationwide. Screening women of childbearing age for HCV and providing HCV treatment services might reduce perinatal transmission of HCV. Monitoring HCV-exposed infants can aid in early identification of HCV infection and related liver disease. From 2009 to 2014, the prevalence of hepatitis C infection among pregnant women, nearly doubled to 3.4 per 1000 live births in 2014, equaling 35 infants a day nationwide exposed to the virus. The study found significant geographic variability among hepatitis C prevalence among pregnant women, with notable increases in rural counties in Tennessee and in rural states like West Virginia. The authors hypothesize that the opioid epidemic might be the reason for the observed increase in hepatitis C. Injection drug use is the principal risk factor for becoming infected with the virus, and areas of the country that have the highest prevalence of hepatitis C infection in pregnant women are the areas with the highest rates of opioid-related complications such as overdose death.

Current and Binge Drinking Among High School Students — United States, 1991–2015

CDC Media Relations

Despite progress, current and binge drinking are common among high school students. Many students who binge drink do so at high intensity. Current drinking and binge drinking declined significantly among U.S. high school students from 1991 through 2015, according to a new CDC study. However, in 2015, about 1 in 3 high school students still reported drinking alcohol during the 30 days before the survey and 1 in 6 reported binge drinking. Among high school students who drank, most were binge drinkers (nearly 58%). More than 2 in 5 binge drinkers consumed 8 or more drinks in a row. High school students who drank usually obtained alcohol from others, and binge drinkers often gave money to others to purchase alcohol for them.

CDC Grand Rounds: Interventions to Prevent and Treat Strokes

CDC Media Relations

Although stroke deaths have significantly declined over the years, stroke continues to be the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Developing efficient, integrated stroke systems of care — across care settings and health care professions — can improve the quality of stroke care and reduce the death and disability caused by stroke. The leading risk factor for stroke is hypertension. Approximately 75 percent of people who have a stroke have hypertension. Racial and gender disparities continue to persist. Blacks are two to three times more likely to have a stroke than are whites, and approximately 60 percent of those who die from stroke are women. When a stroke occurs, it’s critical that it’s treated quickly. Developing efficient, integrated stroke systems of care — that improve communication from one care setting (e.g., emergency medical services, emergency department, hospital, or home) and health care professional to the next — can improve stroke treatment and save lives.

Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Cholera Vaccine

CDC Media Relations

CDC recommends cholera vaccine for adults aged 18–64 years traveling to areas with active cholera transmission. Cholera is rare but can be severe, and most cases reported in the United States occur among travelers to cholera-affected areas. The cholera vaccine CVD 103-HgR (Vaxchora) is safe and effective at preventing severe and life-threatening cholera. Information about destinations with active cholera transmission is available at

Notes from the Field:

  • Severe Human Metapneumovirus Infections — North Dakota, 2016

Quick Stats:

  • None



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Page last reviewed: May 11, 2017