MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, May 13, 2022


Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women — United States, 1999–2020

CDC Media Relations

The annual number of women who died with mesothelioma increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020. It’s important to continue monitoring the occurrence of malignant mesothelioma in women and to identify and eliminate potential causes, especially asbestos exposure in work and non-work settings, in order to prevent future exposures. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Most deaths with malignant mesothelioma in people aged 25 years and older occur among men, and because of this, there is limited data on death trends in women. This study shows that despite the sharp decline in asbestos use in the United States, there has been an increase in the number of women dying from mesothelioma due to past exposures. Women who die from mesothelioma often worked in industries and occupations not traditionally associated with asbestos exposure, such as health care and social assistance industries and working as a homemaker. It is possible that exposures occurred in other work settings such as in older buildings due to disturbance of asbestos-containing materials. Exposures also possibly occurred in non-work settings like living in older homes or from “take home” exposures by indirect contact via family members who were exposed to asbestos in their workplaces. These findings underscore the need for maintaining efforts to provide adequate asbestos controls and protect workers and the surrounding community, and to monitor trends, in order to prevent future exposures.

Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, January 2020–April 2022

CDC Media Relations

As global polio cases continue to decline, polio-affected countries and partners should build upon current efforts to reach polio eradication goals, including strengthening surveillance systems and enhancing efforts to immunize all children. The number of cases of both wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) decreased in 2021 from prior years likely due to restored quality of surveillance and essential immunization services, including national programs and campaign activities. Nonetheless, polio remains a threat to all under- and unvaccinated children. Although WPV1 cases have been detected in Afghanistan and Pakistan in early 2022, the decrease in case numbers in 2021–2022 to date indicates marked progress toward WPV1 eradication. Recent WPV1 detection in Malawi is an example that until all poliovirus transmission is interrupted, there will continue to be a risk of polio spreading to polio-free areas of the world. Polio-affected countries, with support from partners, must sustain and enhance current global efforts to reach eradication goals.

Previously Released: Vital Signs: Changes in Firearm Homicide and Suicide Rates — United States, 2019–2020

CDC Media Relations

Notes from the Field
  • Trends in Gabapentin Detection and Involvement in Drug Overdose Deaths — 23 States and the District of Columbia, 2019–2020
    Gabapentin is a medication used to prevent seizures that is also approved to treat certain kinds of pain. Care should be taken when using gabapentin with opioids because it can increase the risk of slowed breathing and death. Nearly 90% of drug overdose deaths in which gabapentin was detected also involved an opioid, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyls (IMFs). Gabapentin is generally considered safe and is infrequently associated with overdose on its own. However, when gabapentin is used with central nervous system depressants, like opioids, there is increased risk for slowed breathing, which could result in death. This report provides quarterly trends in gabapentin detection and involvement in drug overdose deaths that occurred from 2019 to 2020 using data from 23 states and the District of Columbia. Gabapentin detection and involvement in fatal drug overdoses increased from January 2019 to December 2020 and appears to follow the rising trend in overall overdose deaths, largely driven by increases in synthetic opioids such as IMFs. Findings from this report highlight the dangers of polysubstance use, particularly co-use of gabapentin and illicit opioids.
  • Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths Among Hispanic or Latino Persons — Nevada, 2019–2020
    Drug overdose deaths of unintentional and undetermined intent among Hispanic or Latino persons (Hispanic) in Nevada have increased from 2019 to 2020. Expansion of drug overdose prevention and harm reduction strategies, including increasing overdose education and access to naloxone could prevent future overdose deaths. From 2019 to 2020, Nevada showed a 120% increase in drug overdose deaths of unintentional and undetermined intent among Hispanic persons, compared to a 55% increase among all races/ethnicities. This increase largely occurred among men and those younger than 25 years of age, and the proportion of deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyls (i.e., illicitly manufactured fentanyl and illicit fentanyl analogs) among Hispanic persons increased 135%. Naloxone is a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of overdose from opioids such as illicitly manufactured fentanyls, but only 28% of all opioid-involved deaths and 36% of those deaths among Hispanic persons had evidence of naloxone administration in 2020. Since fentanyl is a highly potent opioid, fentanyl-related overdoses may require multiple doses of naloxone to prevent death. This report highlights the need for expansion of harm reduction strategies and increased access to naloxone to prevent future overdose deaths, particularly among Hispanic persons.



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Page last reviewed: May 6, 2022