MMWR News Synopsis for Friday, March 15, 2019

Emergency Department Visits for Sports- and Recreation-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries Among Children — United States, 2010–2016

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Football, bicycling, basketball, playground activities, and soccer account for the highest numbers of children’s sports- and recreation-related emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI prevention strategies for these and other sports- and recreation-related activities are critical to reducing the risk for childhood TBI. Appropriate diagnosis and management can improve health outcomes for children with TBI. CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program to examine emergency department (ED) visits for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injury (SRR-TBI) between 2010 and 2016. An average of 283,000 children ages ≤17 years sought care in EDs each year for SRR-TBIs. The highest rates were among males and children ages 10-14 and 15-17 years. TBI sustained in contact sports accounted for approximately 45 percent of all SRR-TBI ED visits. Activities associated with the highest number of ED visits were football, bicycling, basketball, playground activities, and soccer. Development and testing of evidence-based interventions are warranted to ensure that children can stay healthy and active in sports. Promising practices include:

  • Limiting player-to-player collisions through rule changes.
  • Teaching strategies to reduce opportunities for head impacts.
  • Using pre-participation athletic examinations to identify athletes at increased risk for TBI.

Diagnostic Methods Used to Classify Confirmed and Probable Cases of Spotted Fever Rickettsioses — United States, 2010–2015

CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

Spotted fever rickettsioses (SFRs) are being reported in record numbers, but the vast majority of cases – 99 percent – provide only minimal laboratory evidence of actual infection. CDC’s analysis highlights the challenges in correctly testing for and diagnosing SFR—using specialized laboratory tests—which is crucial for understanding SFR burden in the United States. SFRs are bacterial diseases spread by the bite of an infected tick. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an SFR that is the most severe tickborne disease in the United States, with an estimated case fatality rate of 5 percent to 10 percent. SFRs are being reported in record numbers, but the majority of cases meet only minimal laboratory requirements for diagnosis. CDC examined the quality of laboratory data used to diagnose SFR cases during 2010–2015 and found that only 1 in 100 cases met the criteria for confirmation. Increased use of molecular assays, collecting appropriately timed serum specimens, and elimination of unreliable laboratory criteria could improve understanding of SFR epidemiology in the United States.

Risk Factors for Congenital Syphilis Transmitted from Mother to Infant — Suzhou, China, 2011–2014

Xiangdong Gong
Director of Division of STD epidemiology
Division of STD epidemiology, National Center for STD Control
86-15366010116 (cell)
gxdchina@163.com

Early diagnosis and treatment and improved access to antenatal care for migrant women are critical to prevent congenital syphilis in China. Syphilis has become a major public health issue in China, where the incidence of congenital syphilis has increased rapidly since 2000. To better understand the risk factors for mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, researchers analyzed characteristics of pregnant women with a new syphilis diagnosis in Suzhou, eastern China. The study found that mothers with syphilis diagnosed after 36 gestational weeks were 25 times more likely to deliver an infected baby than women diagnosed earlier in pregnancy. Every two-fold increase of maternal nontreponemal or treponemal antibody titers doubled the odds of delivering an infected infant. The findings suggest that early diagnosis and treatment of syphilis in pregnancy and improving access to antenatal care for migrant women are critical to reduce the incidence of congenital syphilis in China.

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Brain Injury Awareness Month:

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Page last reviewed: March 1, 2018