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Story Ideas - 2008

2008 Holiday Bonus Year-End Story Ideas

Many Notable Accomplishments, Many Challenges Ahead

CDC has faced many challenges and accomplished much in 2008. Many of you covered foodborne disease outbreaks, HIV rates and immunization coverage.  Journalists and readers were very interested in obesity, autism and seasonal flu. We think the following stories are worthy of a closer look.

Kids recycling

Going Green, Getting Healthy

"Going Green" was a big topic of conversation in 2008 as Americans focused on new ways to reduce their impact on the environment. CDC launched a "Go Green, Get Healthy" campaign to encourage employees to adopt new, healthier habits that are also "green." CDC is using its prevention expertise to address climate change and is preparing for the possibility of health effects related to climate change in the same way it prepares for the possibilities of bioterrorism and pandemic influenza.

Issues for 2009: What can your readers do to be more environmentally friendly – and healthier – in 2009?  CDC will continue to research the impact of a healthy community, as well as the impacts of the environment on health.  Meanwhile, your readers can take steps to “go green” and get healthy – and, like CDC, get their workplace involved, too!

The Ongoing Challenges of HIV/AIDS Picture of African American Woman

The Ongoing Challenges of HIV/AIDS

In 2008, CDC released data that used new technology to give the clearest picture to date of new infections in the U.S. – and found that an estimated 56,000 new infections occurred in 2006, an increase of 40 percent over what we previously thought.  This more precise data confirmed what we already knew: new infections in the U.S. remain far too high (although they have remained roughly stable since the late 1990s, which is a sign of progress). The data was a wake-up call to the nation that more should be done for HIV prevention.

Also, this year, our data showed that more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and that approximately 20% of those – 1 in 5 – are unaware of their infections. While undiagnosed infections have declined in recent years, too many who are infected remain unaware and may be unknowingly transmitting infection to others.

Issues for 2009:  In the U.S., the impact of HIV and AIDS continues to be most severe for men who have sex with men, as they account for approximately half of new infections and of those living with HIV. African-Americans and Latinos are also significantly burdened.  Continued reporting on the disproportionate burden for these groups is needed. 

Older people running

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention

Prevention is a message that bears repeating. Diabetes, obesity and heart disease were top stories in 2008. While chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., they are also among the most preventable illnesses.

Issues for 2009: Obesity will continue to be a big issue in 2009 – for kids and adults. And with obesity comes a greater risk of chronic disease. As baby boomers get older, prevention and treatment of chronic illness that tend to affect older Americans will become a hot topic. Chronic diseases have a huge, measurable impact at the local level, so prevention should be a community affair. 

Kid receiving a shot

Smart Protection from Serious Disease

Immunizations and vaccine–preventable disease issues kept many CDC scientists busy in 2008.  Flu vaccines were recommended for children up to age 18 for the first time and the shingles vaccine was recommended for senior citizens. Rotavirus cases were down in infants , most likely due to a new vaccine.  We are seeing low levels of most vaccine-preventable diseases. Unfortunately, this success has had an unintended consequence: many parents and health providers are no longer familiar with these diseases – and some are questioning the need for, or timing of vaccines. This may be why more measles cases were reported in 2008 than during the same period in any year since 1996.

Issues for 2009:
Many reporters (and readers) still have questions on immunizations and vaccine-preventable diseases.  The conversation over autism and vaccination is sure to continue, and parents will need balanced stories to help them make informed choices for their children.  CDC experts are available to discuss these and many other questions.

Woman holding World globe

CDC: Working All Over the World

2008 was a busy year for CDC employees throughout the world. CDC staff were present in more than 50 countries in 2008. Despite many challenges , like post-election violence in Kenya, an earthquake in China, and devastation after Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, CDC continued its public health and global disease detection work. 

Issues for 2009:
CDC will continue its work detecting disease and helping people throughout the world in 2009. We will keep working with foreign Ministries of Health to strengthen local public health systems. CDC will maintain active support of our Field Epidemiology Training Program . This program, modeled after CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service , helps countries like Kenya set up dynamic public health organizations and train local public health workers to respond regional issues. Want to learn more about our global health efforts? CDC experts with international experience and interesting stories to tell are available for interviews.

Healthy Family

Health for All, and All for Health

While great strides have been made in disease prevention this year, ensuring health equity and eliminating health disparities remain a challenge. In 2008, progress was made in vaccination coverage among minority groups, but there is still work to be done in many other areas.

Issues impacting good health go beyond insurance coverage and the availability of health care. Hypertension, infant mortality, and tuberculosis still affect African-Americans at disproportionate rates even when they have access to care. Today's youth are engaging in fewer risky behaviors like drinking and smoking, than youth in the 1990’s, but the numbers of Hispanic youth who drink alcohol and smoke remain comparatively high. And Asian-Americans bear the greatest burden of chronic hepatitis B.  These examples of health disparities represent the need for multi-faceted approaches for improving health.

Issues for 2009: As a new year begins and America begins a new focus on healthcare reform, we must not forget the health disparities that exist today. The promotion of healthy behaviors, health equity, and awareness of cultural differences other social determinants of health will be topics of discussion for the New Year. 


Construction College

Worker Safety

With Labor Day just gone by, it′s important to remember that workers are staying safe on the job. The following links go to CDC′s features on workplace safety and statistics on work-related injuries.

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Photo: teen receiving a vaccination.

Return to School

As kids return to school, so do the germs. The following links provide information on CDC′s recommended vaccine schedule and highlight some adverse affects of not receiving vaccinations.

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Grandparents′ Day

Grandparents′ Day

For Grandparents′ day, celebrated every Sunday after Labor Day, it′s time to recognize the grandparents of the world. The following links include resources for healthy aging and recommendations for vaccinating seniors

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National Preparedness Month Logo

Be Prepared

September is National Preparedness Month. The following links provide information about this year’s theme and what to do in case of an emergency.

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Baby in car seat

Infant Mortality

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. The United States ranks 23rd among industrialized nations in the world in infant mortality.

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Hispanic Women

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15th, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In the 2000 U.S. census, more than 38 million people identified themselves as Hispanic/Latinos. The following links provide information on Hispanic health issues.

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World Rabies Day Logo

World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day is September 28, 2008. Rabies kills more than 50,000 people and millions of animals around the world and has been reported in every U.S. state except for Hawaii.



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World Heart Day Logo

World Heart Day

World Heart Day, September 28th, reminds us all we need to keep the beat going strong. Find resources on heart disease and more below.

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Rabies in the Americas logo

International Conference on Rabies,
September 29-October 3:

CDC′s 19th international conference on Rabies in the Americas (RITA) is the largest international rabies conference and will be hosted this year at the CDC. Highlights of the conference will include an appearance by a recent human rabies survivor in the United States, and the signing of a North American Rabies Management plan.

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World Non-Violence

World Non-Violence Day, October 2, 2008:

CDC estimates that over 1.6 million deaths worldwide occur as a result of violence, 96 percent of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. Violence is among the leading causes of death in all parts of the world for those ages 15 to 44. Use these resources to help find out more about stopping the violence.

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Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Safety:

Hurricane season is not over yet, and part of being prepared is knowing what to do after the storm has passed. These resources will help you be prepared before, during and after a hurricane.

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Boy Holding a Pumpkin

Halloween Safety:

As the ghouls and goblins come out to play, find tips to make this Halloween fun and safe.





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Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness:

In 2004, 186,772 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,954 women died from the disease. Help recognize and support the women who are fighting this disease.




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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis:

More than 60,000 Americans die each year from venous thromboembolism; in addition, nearly half of patients with deep vein clots experience long-term health consequences that adversely affect their quality of life.

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National Health Interview Survey

Health Insurance:

According to the National Health Interview Survey, 43 million Americans under age 65 were uninsured in 2007.

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Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome:

Down Syndrome is the most commonly identified cause of mental retardation and occurs in approximately 1 in 800 births. October is recognized as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

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Teen boy with gluclose test

November is American Diabetes Month

Diabetes now affects 24 million people according to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are at increased risk of developing diabetes. Your audience may be interested in lifestyle changes they can make to help prevent or delay diabetes such as eating right and being active.

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Hispanic family cooking

Preparing Food During the Holidays

Foodborne disease infections cause an estimated 76 million to become sick each year. And with the recent salmonella outbreak, determining when and from what food an outbreak will strike is unpredictable. Instruct your readers on the best ways for keeping a germ-free kitchen or use these formatted releases instead.

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Couple putting luggage in trunk

Healthy Traveling

As Americans gear up for holiday travel, it’s important for your readers to be proactive, prepared and protected when it comes to their health. CDC’s yellow book includes information on country-specific tips, a new guide to preparing a travel kit and travel notices.

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Multigeneration family in woods

Sharing Your Family History:

Did you know that your mother’s arthritis might run in the family? As one of many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, arthritis could affect anyone in the family. Suggest that when your readers get together during the holidays, they talk to the rest of the family and create a family to know their potential health risks.

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Hand crushing cigarette

The Great American Smokeout:

Did you know that half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases? Each year, smoking accounts for an estimated 438,000 premature deaths, including 38,000 deaths among nonsmokers as a result of secondhand smoke. Celebrated November 20th, the Great American Smokeout is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and encourages smokers to commit to a smoke-free life. Help your readers kick the habit with information from the following links.

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Woman Sleeping

Don't Lose Sleep over the Holidays

Readers are busy this holiday season, but one thing they shouldn′t skip is a good night′s sleep. Losing sleep can mean more than just feeling tired. Health problems, such as obesity and depression, and unhealthy behaviors like smoking and heavy drinking are associated with not getting enough sleep. A CDC study revealed that 10 percent of Americans don′t get enough sleep on a daily basis.

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Couple with snowman

Baby, It′s Cold Outside

The snow has started to fall and your readers are beginning to feel the chill that comes with winter weather. Extreme cold, or even prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, can cause health emergencies including hypothermia and frostbite. The following links offer tips on preparing your home and car for the winter, along with information on understanding wind chill.

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Senior couple partying

Holiday Health Tip: Avoid Binge Drinking and Drive Safe During the Holidays

Although college students commonly binge drink, 70 percent of binge drinking episodes involve adults over age 25 years, so as your readers celebrate the holidays or ring in the New Year, they should make this season a safe one. Remind them that binge drinking not only can lead to health problems – it can also put them and their loved ones at risk. In fact, alcohol misuse is the leading risk factor for serious injury in the United States.

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family cooking

Preparing Food during the Holidays

Foodborne disease infections cause an estimated 76 million to become sick each year. Don′t let common foodborne diseases like Salmonella or E. Coli ruin your holiday party. Instruct your readers on the best ways for keeping a germ-free kitchen or use these formatted articles instead.

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Man tangled in xmas lights

Rigging up Those Lights

Hanging lights, chopping down a Christmas tree, braving the crowds to get the perfect gift. Each of these activities are holiday traditions, but they share something else in common: the risk of injury. In 2007 more than 6,000 people were hospitalized due to holiday-related injuries according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program. Put together some tips for your readers on how to avoid common holiday-related injuries.

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Eskimo village

Where in the world is CDC?

Take your readers on a journey to the land of the midnight sun. They probably associate CDC with exotic locales and tropical diseases, but probably don't realize that CDC has an active presence in our northernmost state. CDC′s Anchorage, Alaska location houses the Arctic Investigations Program (AIP). Working to understand and eliminate health disparities among Arctic and Subarctic people, especially Alaska Natives and American Indians, the AIP began in 1948 and has a staff of over 35 people. Priority projects include reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable infections and infections that lead to chronic disease (e.g., Helicobacter pylori and hepatitis) in these population groups. In April 2008, the AIP team released the first study to show an association between lack of in-home running water and prevalence of respiratory and skin infections. The team partners with Alaska state and local health departments and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and is active in the Arctic Human Health Initiative, the International Polar Year, and the International Circumpolar Surveillance Network.

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