MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, March 6, 2020

Deaths from Fall-Related Traumatic Brain Injury — United States, 2008–2017

CDC Media Relations

Nationally, there was a 17% increase in the age-adjusted rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related deaths due to falls, highlighting the importance of preventing falls, especially among older adults. In 2017, falls resulted in 17,408 deaths and were the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths. CDC calculated national and state-specific rates and trends for fall-related TBI deaths among U.S. residents during 2008–2017. Rates of fall-related TBI deaths increased significantly in 29 states over the 10-year study period. National rates increased by 17%, with the most notable increases observed among people living in the most rural counties and those ≥75 years of age. Falls are preventable, and it is important for the public and health care providers to be aware of evidence-based strategies to prevent falls.

Student-Reported School Safety Perceptions, Connectedness, and Absenteeism Following a Multiple-Fatality School Shooting — Broward County, Florida, February 14–21, 2018

CDC Media Relations

Data from a school near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (where there was a multiple-fatality shooting) show that a school shooting’s effects extend beyond the school where it occurred. Immediately following a school shooting, there was a decrease in perceived school safety, an increase in absenteeism, and an increase in school connectedness among students in a nearby school, suggesting the need for student support in neighboring schools in response to traumatic events in the community.

E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use–Associated Lung Injury Among Clusters of Patients Reporting Shared Product Use — Wisconsin, 2019

Elizabeth Goodsitt
Communications Specialist
Media line: 608-267-3810
Office phone: 608-266-1683

Jennifer Miller
Cell phone: 608-287-6952

This report confirms that THC cartridges containing vitamin E acetate are strongly linked to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries (EVALI) in Wisconsin. An investigation in Wisconsin found that small clusters of EVALI patients were friends who used the same e-cigarette, or vaping, products before they got sick. Many of the shared products were illicit-market THC cartridges that contained vitamin E acetate, and two of the patients had vitamin E acetate detected in their lungs. The patients included in this report represent only eight of the approximately 100 cases that have been investigated in Wisconsin, but are unique because they were among the first cases to be identified in the United States that had social connections with each other and had shared e-cigarette, or vaping, products prior to becoming ill. These findings allowed investigators to focus on a few specific brands of THC cartridges, such as Dank Vapes, that were obtained on the illicit market and were most closely associated with their lung injuries. These findings reinforce recommendations to not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping products, especially those obtained from informal sources. Moreover, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Adults using e-cigarette, or vaping, products as an alternative to cigarettes should not resume smoking, and e-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or pregnant women.

Intervention To Stop Transmission of Imported Pneumonic Plague — Uganda, 2019

CDC Media Relations

Rapid identification of suspected pneumonic plague in the remote West Nile region of Uganda and the timely response by well-trained Ugandan health officials in the form of contact tracing, antibiotic prophylaxis, and community education prevented additional cases of plague. Plague is a deadly disease that can cause epidemics if not recognized early. A 2019 response to pneumonic plague in Uganda highlighted how swift action by local health officials trained in epidemiology and plague laboratory testing by CDC likely prevented a larger outbreak. Ugandan health officials traced the contacts of two women — one who had traveled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Uganda shortly before death and the sister who cared for her and later fell gravely ill. Officials treated the sick woman and gave antibiotics to approximately 100 contacts. Proximity to DRC, with its ongoing Ebola outbreak, initially complicated the diagnosis but Ugandan health officials were familiar with pneumonic plague and quickly ruled out Ebola as a cause for concern.

Active Monitoring of Persons Exposed to Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 — United States, January–February 2020

CDC Media Relations

Brain Injury Awareness Month — March 2020

Notes from the Field

Macaques in public settings, such as parks, often carry Herpes B virus. People visiting areas with free-ranging macaques should avoid close contact with these animals. Macaque bites or scratches should be scrubbed with soap or iodine for 15 minutes and irrigated with running water for an additional 15–20 minutes. Medical treatment should be sought immediately. On January 7, 2019, Oregon Public Health Division (OPHD) was contacted by a local health department about an Oregon teen who, on December 24, 2018, was bitten by a macaque at a public park in Phuket, Thailand. OPHD staff expressed concern about possible exposure to Macacine herpesvirus 1 (B virus). This virus, found commonly in macaques, can cause severe encephalitis in humans if not treated promptly and has an untreated case fatality rate approaching 80%. Initial tests for antibodies against B virus were negative in the Oregon patient. However, because B virus can establish a lifelong latent infection and cause illness years later, the patient was advised to carry a Medical Alert card in case symptoms occurred.



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: March 4, 2020