MMWR News Synopsis
Friday, May 27, 2022
- Barriers to and Disparities in Access to Health Care Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Epilepsy — United States, 2015 and 2017
- Seizure- or Epilepsy-Related Emergency Department Visits Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2019–2021
- Multistate Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Fresh, Soft Hispanic-Style Cheese — United States, 2021
- Previously Released: Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021
- Notes from the Field
- Quick Stats
Barriers to and Disparities in Access to Health Care Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Epilepsy — United States, 2015 and 2017
CDC Media Relations
People with epilepsy reported many challenges, including lack of transportation, not being able to afford to see a specialist, and not being able to afford medications. These challenges may increase their risk for adverse health and social outcomes. Compared with U.S. adults without epilepsy, adults with epilepsy were more likely to report challenges affording important aspects of their epilepsy and non-epilepsy medical care. For example, adults with epilepsy were more likely to report taking less medication than prescribed to save money during the last 12 months and an inability to afford specialty care, mental health care, or vision or dental care when needed. Almost 3 times as many adults with epilepsy compared to those without epilepsy reported that lack of transportation was a reason for not seeking care in the last 12 months. Public health practitioners and epilepsy health and social service providers can enhance linkages between clinical and community programs and services to address gaps in access to health care.
Seizure- or Epilepsy-Related Emergency Department Visits Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2019–2021
CDC Media Relations
Seizure-related emergency department visits decreased sharply among all people, especially children younger than 10 years of age, during the early COVID-19 pandemic period (April 1–December 29, 2020). This decrease in visits highlights the importance of encouraging individuals, parents, and guardians of young children to seek appropriate care for seizure-related emergencies to prevent adverse outcomes. Although seizure-related emergency department visits in older children and adults quickly rebounded to levels similar to those before the pandemic (prepandemic), seizure-related emergency department visits among children younger than 10 years of age remained low and did not return to prepandemic levels until mid-2021. The decrease in seizure-related emergency department visits in 2020 among all age groups and the slow return to prepandemic levels among children aged 0–9 years, compared with other age groups, might have been associated with fear of exposure to COVID-19 in emergency departments, deterring patients from seeking care; adherence to prevention measures, including avoiding public settings such as emergency departments; or increased access to telehealth services, decreasing the need for emergency department visits. These findings reinforce the importance of understanding why parents, guardians, and individuals did not seek care and the need to encourage them to seek appropriate care for seizure-related emergencies to prevent adverse outcomes.
Multistate Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Linked to Fresh, Soft Hispanic-Style Cheese — United States, 2021
CDC Media Relations
This report highlights the risk for pregnant people, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems of getting a serious infection with Listeria from fresh, soft Hispanic-style cheeses like queso fresco, even if made from pasteurized milk. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. In February 2021, CDC and federal, state, and local partners began investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. Patients in this outbreak were more likely to consume fresh, soft HIspanic-style cheeses, including queso fresco, compared with patients with LIsteria infections reported from the same states. Through rapid food testing and record collection efforts, investigators were able to identify a brand of queso fresco made with pasteurized milk as the likely source of infections. An initial recall of the contaminated product was announced on February 19 and expanded to include additional products on February 26. In total, 13 people got sick, including 12 who were hospitalized and one who died. Although pasteurization of milk kills Listeria, this outbreak shows that fresh, soft Hispanic-style cheeses like queso fresco can still become contaminated after pasteurization. People at higher risk for Listeria infection (older adults, pregnant people, and people with weakened immune systems) should be aware of the potential danger of eating queso fresco or similar types of fresh, soft Hispanic-style cheeses, even when made with pasteurized milk.
Previously Released: Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021
CDC Media Relations
- Self-Reported Health Symptoms Following Petroleum Contamination of a Drinking Water System — Oahu, Hawaii, November 2021–February 2022
An investigation of petroleum-contaminated drinking water in Hawaii found that thousands of people were negatively impacted by the water contamination and reported symptoms consistent with exposure to petroleum. A team from the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Hawaii Department of Health conducted an investigation to determine the health effects of the petroleum contamination of a drinking water system on Oahu, Hawaii. The team found that nearly 90% of survey participants reported at least one new or worsening symptom since the incident, of which 17 reported being hospitalized overnight. Many symptoms reported by participants were consistent with exposure to petroleum. Common symptoms involved the nervous system, gastrointestinal system, skin, ear/nose/throat, and effects on mental health. Approximately 81% of symptomatic participants reported at least some improvement in symptoms after switching to an alternative water source. This incident disrupted the lives and negatively affected the health of thousands of people. These results highlight the need for preventing exposure to petroleum products and may aid public health professionals and clinicians in detecting and responding to future similar incidents.
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.