MMWR News Synopsis for August 23, 2018

National, Regional, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13–17 Years — United States, 2017

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Over the past few years, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has become the norm as most adolescents have started the HPV vaccination series. This year, we are excited to see that the number of children who are starting and completing the HPV vaccine series continues to grow. HPV vaccination rates are increasing as the number of adolescents who are up-to-date – meaning they started and completed the HPV vaccine series – increased 5 percentage points from 2016 to 2017. The findings come from the National Immunization Survey – Teen, an annual survey that estimates vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years in the 50 states, DC, selected local areas, and territories. Additionally, vaccination coverage with one or more doses of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis increased and vaccination coverage with Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria remained stable.

Trends in Human Papillomavirus–Associated Cancers — United States, 1999–2015

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

The number of human papillomavirus (HPV) associated cancers has increased to nearly 43,000 annually in the US. However, HPV vaccination can prevent infection with the HPV types most strongly associated with cancer. Increasing HPV vaccination rates among young males and females could prevent many cancers. HPV-associated cancers are rising, according to a new CDC study. HPV can cause cervical cancer as well as some oropharyngeal, vulvar, vaginal, penile, and anal cancers. From 1999 to 2015, the number of HPV-associated cancers increased from 30,000 to over 43,000 annually. Most of the increase was in oropharyngeal and anal cancer in men and women. This is likely due to increased HPV exposure over the past few decades. From other reports, we know that over 90 percent of cancers likely caused by HPV can be prevented by HPV vaccine. Meanwhile, cervical cancer rates continue to decline because of screening and early detection. Screening finds cervical precancers so they can be treated before becoming cancer. There is no recommended screening for other HPV-associated cancers.

Occupational Patterns in Drug-Involved and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths –– United States, 2007–2012

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Certain jobs have a higher burden of drug overdose deaths, with construction workers facing the highest burden for both opioid-related and heroin-related overdose deaths. A recent CDC study looked at drug overdose deaths within 26 job groups. This data helps to characterize which jobs may be most at risk for drug and opioid-related overdose deaths. Looking at specific types of opioid-related overdose deaths, health care practitioners and technical occupations were highest for synthetic opioid-related deaths. Workers in extraction jobs, such as those in oil, gas, and mining, were at highest risk for natural and semi-synthetic opioids-related deaths; construction jobs were highest for methadone-related deaths. This study is a first step in understanding the role work plays in the opioid epidemic. Incorporating workplace research and interventions will benefit the opioid epidemic response.

Coccidioidomycosis Outbreak Among Workers Constructing a Solar Power Farm — Monterey County, California, 2016–2017

Matt Conens
Information Officer
California Department of Public Health, Office of Public Affairs
(916) 445-6350
Matt.Conens@cdph.ca.gov

Workers performing soil-disturbing activities in areas where Valley fever occurs are at risk for infection.Use of dust-control measures and appropriate personal protective equipment can decrease this risk. California state and local public health departments identified an outbreak of coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) among workers constructing a solar power farm in Monterey County, California, in 2016–2017. Valley fever is typically an influenza-like illness but can be severe or fatal. It is caused by breathing in the spores of a soil-dwelling fungus; workers who disturb soil in areas where the fungus grows are at risk of infection. Nine workers onsite had confirmed Valley fever; five visited the emergency department, and one was hospitalized. The rate of Valley fever among workers was higher than background county rates, providing evidence that illness was work-related. In areas where Valley fever illness occurs, employers doing outdoor work should take measures to protect workers from dust, public health agencies should help review plans for proposed construction, and clinicians should suspect Valley fever in outdoor workers with respiratory symptoms.

Assessment of Epidemiology Capacity in State Health Departments — United States, 2017

Jeremy Arieh
Director of Communications
Council of State Territorial Epidemiologists
Office: 770-458-3811, ext. 155
Cell: 678-427-9801
Email: jarieh@cste.org

The ability of state public health agencies to detect, identify, and respond to emerging health threats is limited by the agencies’ epidemiology capacity. While the epidemiology workforce has grown in size, as many as 1,200 additional epidemiologists are needed to reach full capacity. The state health department epidemiology workforce has increased in size since 2013, but gaps in specialized skills and knowledge remain. Hiring without consideration for specialized skills and knowledge may no longer result in improved epidemiology capacity. Gaps in capacity affect the ability of public health agencies to respond to emerging threats and to maintain basic functions of disease surveillance. More epidemiologists are needed to work in the areas of substance abuse, mental health, occupational health, environmental health, and informatics. Additionally, there should be an emphasis on hiring or training existing staff in evaluation and research skills.

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Page last reviewed: August 23, 2018