MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, February 21, 2020

Interim Estimates of 2019–20 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, February 2020

CDC Media Relations

CDC preliminary vaccine effectiveness estimates indicate that the 2019-20 flu vaccine is providing substantial protective benefit, particularly among children, who were hard hit by flu this season. Flu vaccines are reducing doctor visits associated with flu illness by 45% overall and 55% in children. CDC’s interim flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates show that the flu vaccine has reduced doctor visits associated with flu illness by almost half (VE = 45%) so far this season. This is consistent with estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness from previous seasons that ranged from 40%-60% when flu vaccine viruses were similar to circulating flu viruses. Vaccination is providing substantial protection (VE = 55%) for children, who have been particularly hard hit by flu this season.

Characteristics and Health Status of Informal Unpaid Caregivers — 2015–2017

CDC Media Relations

The first CDC report on caregiver health shows that nearly 1 in 5 informal, unpaid caregivers say they are in fair or poor health. Overall, about a fifth of U.S. adults provided care to a family member or friend in the preceding 30 days. Over a three-year period across 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico nearly 20% of caregivers reported being in fair or poor health.

State and Territorial Laws Prohibiting Sales of Tobacco Products to Persons Aged <21 Years — United States, December 20, 2019

CDC Media Relations

A comprehensive strategy combining comprehensive smoke-free laws, high prices for tobacco products, and raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 years can help prevent and reduce youth tobacco product use. Nearly all tobacco product use begins during adolescence, and minors have cited older peers and siblings as a common source of tobacco products. Before enactment of the 2019 federal law that raised the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 years (T21), localities, states, and territories were increasingly adopting their own T21 laws as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent youth initiation of tobacco-product use. To understand the landscape of U.S. state and territorial T21 laws prior to enactment of the federal law, CDC assessed state and territorial laws prohibiting sales of all tobacco products to persons <21 years of age. As of December 20, 2019, a total of 19 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Palau had enacted T21 laws, including 13 enacted in 2019.

Autochthonous Chagas Disease — Missouri, 2018

Full Name: Lisa Cox
Title: Communications Director, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Office Phone: 5737516061
Email Address:

A blood donor who is positive for antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, likely represents the first documented locally acquired case of Chagas disease in Missouri. Locally acquired, or autochthonous, cases of Chagas disease are exceedingly rare in the United States. Only 28 were documented during 1955-2015. In 2017, a blood donation in Missouri screened positive for antibodies to T. cruzi. Based on epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory data, the reported case likely represents the first documented autochthonous case of Chagas disease in Missouri. Though most documented cases in the United States are among persons originally from Latin America, health care providers and public health professionals should be aware of the possibility of locally acquired Chagas disease in the southern United States.

Notes from the Field

The Hypertension Control Challenge is an opportunity to call attention to the importance of controlling blood pressure in preventing cardiovascular disease and to create a sense of urgency around hypertension control, encouraging clinicians and health systems to share their achievements and promote their successful strategies. Hypertension is a leading modifiable risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Because controlling hypertension can prevent heart disease, CDC’s Million Hearts initiative focuses on improving control of blood pressure among people with hypertension. The Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champions, a national recognition program, demonstrates that achieving high hypertension control rates is possible across a range of health care settings and among patient populations at increased risk for having uncontrolled hypertension. Specific strategies highlighted by the program include identifying a Hypertension Control Champion within an organization, arranging frequent office visits until blood pressure control is achieved, using hypertension treatment protocols and electronic health record-supported patient registries to guide patient treatment and follow-up, and providing clinician feedback through performance reports.



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: February 20, 2020