MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, June 3, 2022


Pediatric Melatonin Ingestions — United States, 2012–2021

CDC Media Relations

A new MMWR describes a 530% increase in pediatric melatonin ingestions reported to poison control over the last decade, with the largest increase occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health initiatives should raise awareness of increasing melatonin ingestion among children and develop preventative measures to eliminate this risk. Melatonin is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a dietary supplement and is a widely available over-the-counter sleep aid for adults and children. Our report describes a 530% increase in pediatric melatonin ingestions from 2012 to 2021. The largest increase occurred during the pandemic. Pediatric hospitalizations and serious outcomes due to melatonin ingestion have also increased during the last decade. Health care providers should be aware of the increasing risk of exposure to melatonin and its adverse effects in children. Parents should be advised regarding the safe storage and appropriate use of melatonin. Public health initiatives are needed to raise awareness of increasing pediatric melatonin ingestions and to develop preventative measures to eliminate this risk.

COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths among American Indian or Alaska Native Persons — Alaska, 2020–2021

CDC Media Relations

Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Alaska were at increased risk for COVID-19 and COVID-19 associated hospitalizations and deaths compared with White persons. Working with Alaska Native and American Indian people and communities to design and implement prevention efforts is critical to reduce disparities. Alaska Native and American Indian people in the United States face health disparities, including a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness. This study examined disparities among Alaska Native and American Indian people during March 2020–December 2021. Investigators found the rate of COVID-19 cases among Alaska Native and American Indian people (26,583 per 100,000) was more than twice the rate among White people (11,935 per 100,000). The COVID-19 hospitalization and death rate for Alaska Native and American Indian people was approximately three times the rate among White people. Overall, Alaska Native and American Indian people accounted for about 25% of Alaska’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and more than 28% of COVID-19-associated deaths. Public health efforts designed in collaboration with Alaska Native/American Indian persons and communities are critical to reducing COVID-19-associated disparities among Alaska Native/American Indian persons in Alaska.

Previously Released: Use of JYNNEOS (Smallpox and Monkeypox Vaccine, Live, Nonreplicating) for Preexposure Vaccination of Persons at Risk for Occupational Exposure to Orthopoxviruses: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2022

CDC Media Relations

Notes from the Field
  • Lead Poisoning in a Family of Five Resulting from Use of Traditional Glazed Ceramic Ware — New York City, 2017–2022
    Routine blood lead screening of a child in 2017 ultimately led to the discovery of a family of five with blood lead levels at or above the CDC blood lead reference value at that time. Case investigations revealed that the elevated blood lead levels were associated with the use of traditional, glazed ceramic ware. People should avoid using traditional glazed ceramic ware that may contain lead for preparing, cooking, serving, or storing foods and drinks. Lead is a poison that can cause serious health effects in children and adults. Exposure to known lead sources should be avoided. Traditional ceramic ware from around the world can contain high levels of lead and have been associated with elevated blood lead levels in children and adults. The lead used for decorative and other purposes on the ceramic ware’s glaze or paint can transfer to foods or drinks that are prepared, cooked, served, or stored in these products, placing users at risk for lead exposure. Public health and health care professionals should be aware that such ceramic ware can be a shared source of lead exposure. Thus, testing blood lead levels of all household members is recommended when one member receives a diagnosis of an elevated level. In addition, local health departments should conduct holistic risk assessments for multiple potential sources of lead exposure during case investigations.
  • Influenza A(H3N2) Outbreak Following a School Event — Los Angeles, California, March 2022
    This influenza A(H3N2) virus outbreak among attendees of an off-campus school banquet in LA County, Los Angeles shows that flu viruses can spread easily among people during large social gatherings and have the potential to cause outbreaks of respiratory disease as COVID-19 preventive measures are being lifted across the country. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine and everyday preventive actions, like handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick, to prevent flu. If you do get sick with the flu, take antiviral drugs, if prescribed by a health care provider. Out of a total 177 students and seven teachers who attended an off-campus school banquet in LA County, Los Angeles, 72 (41%) students reported having the flu after the event. Because of the high attack rate, the school was temporarily closed to in-person attendance. Flu activity in this LA County community had more than tripled in the weeks leading up to the outbreak, and local mandates to reduce COVID-19 (i.e., face masks and physical distancing) were lifted in the community and at the school in the weeks leading up to the outbreak. Medical providers should consider the possibility of influenza in patients with respiratory disease, given ongoing late-season influenza activity in the United States.



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Page last reviewed: June 2, 2022