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MMWR News Synopsis for December 7, 2017

Disparities in Hospital–Reported Breast Milk Use in Neonatal Intensive Care Units – United States, 2015

CDC Media Relations
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Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for preterm and other high-risk infants, but use of breast milk in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) differs by neighborhood and is lower in areas with more black residents. Breast milk is the recommended nutrition for infants and is particularly beneficial for preterm infants. Non-Hispanic black mothers are at higher risk of preterm birth than white or Hispanic mothers. Analysis of data from a 2015 CDC survey of U.S. maternity hospitals found that the use of both mother’s own and donor breast milk in NICUs was lower in hospitals located in postal codes with higher percentages of black residents than those in areas with lower percentages of black residents.

Update: Influenza Activity in the United States

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Since influenza activity is just beginning to increase, receiving influenza vaccine at this time should still offer substantial public health benefit. Health care providers should recommend influenza vaccine now and throughout the influenza season to all unvaccinated people 6 months and older who do not have contraindications. Prescription antiviral medications can treat influenza illness and are recommended for use in patients who are very sick with influenza or who are sick and at high risk of serious influenza complications. Influenza antiviral drugs can lessen duration and severity of illness and help prevent more severe illness. Influenza activity in the United States remained low during October 2017 but has been increasing since early November with influenza A (H3N2) viruses being most frequently identified. Almost all influenza viruses collected so far are similar to the cell-derived reference viruses representing 2017–18 season influenza vaccines. Annual vaccination varies in its effectiveness but it is the best available method for preventing influenza and its complications. Since the 2017-18 influenza season is just beginning, receiving an influenza vaccine now should still offer substantial public health benefit. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Influenza antiviral treatment, an adjunct to vaccination, can lessen duration and severity of illness. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of illness.

Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, January 2016–June 2017

CDC Media Relations
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With only 25 Dracunculiasis cases in humans reported in 2016, the goal of eradicating Guinea worm disease appears to be on the horizon. However, infections in dogs and insecurity in Mali and South Sudan remain challenges to eradication efforts. Dracunculiasis, also known as Guinea worm disease, is a parasitic infection targeted for global eradication. Annual cases declined from about 3.5 million in 20 countries in 1986 to just 25 in 2016 from only 19 villages in Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. In Chad, dog infections have far outnumbered human cases since 2012. In the first 6 months of 2017, however, there were fewer dog infections in Chad compared with the same period in 2016. While the world is closer than ever to Guinea worm eradication, infections in dogs and insecurity in Mali and South Sudan continue to be a challenge.

Acute Malnutrition Among Children, Mortality, and Coverage with Humanitarian Interventions in Conflict-Affected Regions – Nigeria, October 2016-March 2017

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Increasing mortality rates in northeastern Nigeria suggest a need to enhance and expand ongoing, life-saving interventions. Continued violence by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has displaced nearly 2 million people and decimated the health system. Data from repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted in the conflict-affected states, following the declaration of a public health emergency in 2016, provide evidence of mortality rates in excess of emergency levels. Mortality rates increased during the study period. Major public health interventions, including measles vaccinations, have improved but remain below targeted levels.

Notes from the Field:

  • None

Quick Stats:

  • Percentage of Children Aged 4–17 Years Who Ever had Varicella (Chickenpox), by Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, 2007–2016

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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