MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, September 6, 2019

Participation in Community Preparedness Programs in Human Services Organizations and Faith-Based Organizations — New York City, 2018

DOHMH OEPR – Director of Community Engagement and Response
Office Phone: 347-396-2607
Cell Phone: 646-799-4740
Email Address:
For DOHMH communication requests please contact: Nathaniel Dickey at

With training from health departments, human services organizations and houses of worship can be neighborhood assets in preparing for and recovering from public health emergencies. Organizations and Houses of Worship are force multipliers. They should be used as communicators to amplify public health emergency messaging.Recognizing the importance of community-based organizations in community preparedness, the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response in New York City’s (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) launched a Community Preparedness Program (CPP) in 2016 which engaged two sectors, human-services and faith-based organizations. To strengthen preparedness for public health emergencies in these organizations, the program conducted eight in-person preparedness trainings focused on developing plans for 1) continuity of operations, 2) emergency management, 3) volunteer management, 4) emergency communications, 5) emergency notification systems, 6) communication with at-risk persons, 7) assessing emergency resources, and 8) dedicated emergency funds. Data obtained through online surveys administered during June–September 2018 were analyzed to compare planning by organizations that were trained with those not trained. Organizations that participated in CPP trainings significantly strengthened their emergency preparedness capacity by having better plans for continuity of operations, emergency management, volunteer management, and emergency communication than did those that did not participate. NYC’s CPP can serve as a model for other health departments seeking to build community preparedness through partnership with community-based organizations.

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016

CDC Media Relations

Racial disparities in pregnancy-related deaths persist  across state groupings, maternal ages, and education levels. Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than are white women – and this disparity increases with age. Pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births for black and AI/AN women older than 30 was four to five times higher than it was for white women. Even in states with the lowest proportion of pregnancy-related deaths and among women with higher levels of education, significant disparities remain. The findings suggest that the disparity observed in pregnancy-related death for black and AI/AN women is a complex national problem. State and local Maternal Mortality Review Committees offer the best opportunity for further identifying priority strategies that will reduce disparities in pregnancy-related mortality.

Impact of Public Health Interventions on Drinking Water–Associated Outbreaks of Hepatitis A — United States, 1971–2017

CDC Media Relations

CDC recommends that private well owners test their water annually to make sure it’s free of contaminants and safe to drink. Drinking-water-related hepatitis A outbreaks have become exceedingly rare in the U.S. due to routine hepatitis A vaccination and drinking-water regulations for public groundwater systems. However, people who use untreated groundwater from private wells remain at risk for hepatitis A infection from contaminated water. Since 2009, there have not been any reported drinking water-associated hepatitis A outbreaks from public or private water systems in the United States. Currently, there are no regulations at the federal level for individual water systems. CDC recommends that private well owners test their water annually to make sure it’s free of contaminants and safe to drink. Public health officials can raise awareness of risks associated with untreated ground water among users of private wells, and of private well testing and treatment options.

Notes from the Field

This is the first reported case of apparent locally acquired Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in Denver. Although hantavirus-infected rodents have been reported in urban areas, people rarely acquire the disease in these environments. Because urban transmission can occur, clinicians in arid urban environments such as Denver should consider HPS in patients with compatible symptoms and possible rodent exposure, even in the absence of recent travel to a rural area. On February 16, 2018 a previously healthy 47-year-old woman was admitted to a Denver hospital with chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, fever, and low oxygen levels in her blood. She was diagnosed with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) caused by Sin Nombre virus (SNV).  SNV is typically transmitted by inhalation of contaminated rodent urine or droppings. HPS has a case-fatality rate of approximately 38%; the Denver patient recovered after a 13-day hospitalization. The patient resided and worked in an apartment building in an urban area of Denver. She performed maintenance.  Inspections of her home and place of employment after her illness did not find rodents or rodent droppings. However, the patient did state that tenants had reported seeing mice.



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: September 5, 2019