MMWR News Synopsis

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Prevalence of Asthma, Asthma Attacks, and Emergency Department Visits for Asthma Among Working Adults – National Health Interview Survey, 2011-2016

CDC Media Relations

The data in this report may help physicians identify workers who should be evaluated for possible work-related asthma and could help public health officials identify workplaces where detailed investigations for prevention and control might be appropriate. During 2011-2016, among an estimated 160.7 million adults employed at some time in the 12 months, 6.8 percent had current asthma. The current asthma prevalence was highest among workers employed in the health care and social assistance industry (8.8%) and in healthcare support occupations (8.8%). Prevalence of asthma attacks among workers with current asthma was highest among workers employed in the transportation and warehousing industry (52.0%) and in education, training, and library occupations (51.2%). Prevalence of asthma-related emergency room visits was highest among workers with asthma in the retail trade industry (12.4%) and personal care and service (17.4%) occupations.

Phosphine Exposure Among Emergency Responders – Amarillo, Texas, January 2017

Chris Van Deusen
Director of Media Relations

First responder organizations should ensure their firefighters, EMTs and other personnel use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during all incidents where they suspect the presence of an unknown hazardous substance. Respiratory protection is an important tool for protecting the health of emergency personnel as they respond to incidents that may involve unknown toxic substances. In January 2017, emergency responders were potentially exposed to phosphine at an incident in Amarillo, Texas. Thirty-eight percent of those who did not use PPE reported they got medical care for related symptoms or as a precaution, and 18 percent reported new or worsening symptoms within 24 hours. Responders who did use appropriate PPE did not report any exposure-related symptoms or medical treatment. Many studies have found low adherence to PPE protocols among emergency responders, despite the availability of equipment and training.

State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Treatments – United States, 2015-2017

CDC Media Relations

There was some progress in state Medicaid cessation coverage during 2015–2017. However, this coverage continues to fall substantially short of the Healthy People 2020 target of full coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. State Medicaid programs can help Medicaid enrollees quit smoking by covering all evidence-based cessation treatments, removing barriers that make it difficult for enrollees to access these treatments, and promoting covered treatments to increase their use. To monitor recent changes in state Medicaid cessation coverage, the American Lung Association (ALA) collected data on coverage of nine effective cessation methods — including individual and group counseling and seven FDA-approved medications — in state Medicaid programs during July 1, 2015–June 30, 2017. The ALA also collected data on seven barriers to accessing covered treatments, such as copayments and prior authorization. As of June 30, 2017, 10 states cover all nine evidence-based cessation treatments considered in this study for all Medicaid enrollees, up from nine states in 2015. All but one of these states have barriers to accessing some treatments.



CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

Page last reviewed: April 5, 2018