Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are now higher in cities after years of being more common in rural areas, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Friday.
The CDC says overdose rates for urban areas surpassed rural areas in 2016 and 2017, though not by much.
The CDC found that in 2017, there were 22 overdose deaths out of every 100,000 people in urban areas. In rural areas, there were 20 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.
PITTSBURGH – A new warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about a troubling virus that’s impacted some families in the Pittsburgh area.
Acute flaccid myelitis – or AFM – partially paralyzes children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the frequency of several types of food poisoning infections climbed last year, but that the increases could be the result of new diagnostic tools that help identify more cases.
Overall, the agency believes food poisoning rates have remained largely unchanged
The agency attributed the high number of cases primarily to a few large outbreaks — one in the state of Washington and two others in New York City and New York state. The New York outbreaks are among the largest and longest lasting since 2000.
“The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States,” the CDC said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, in a statement, said the rise in measles cases is “avoidable.”
“Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease,” he said. “We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken.”
The bacteria Elizabethkingia anopheles has claimed 17 lives over the last five months in 12 Wisconsin counties, and caused 54 people to become seriously ill. As yet, no one has been able to trace the source of the infection.
Elizabethkingia anopheles is named for a famous researcher who worked with the CDC in the mid-1900s. Found in the guts of mosquitoes, it is not a dangerous bacteria for anyone with a healthy immune system, but can cause life-threatening infections in young babies, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Most states don’t get more than five to 10 cases a year, so this represents a huge spike in infection rates. And the bacteria involved have, according to CDC official Michael Bell, the same “fingerprint,” despite the fact that cases of infection span 12 different counties.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
This year’s vaccine will target the same strain of the virus, the H3N2 strain, that mutated last year, leaving the vaccine less effective, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announced Thursday.
“It was a disappointing year from the point of view of what the vaccine can do,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University and the medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
The CDC reported that the rate of flu-related hospitalizations during the last flu season among those over the age of 65 was the highest since records began about 10 years ago. Additionally there were 145 pediatric flu deaths, according to the CDC.
Last year’s flu vaccine against the mutated strain was just 13 percent effective compared to the goal of around 50 to 60 percent effective in other years, CDC director Tom Freiden said at a news conference Thursday.
Health officials are far more optimistic that the vaccine will be more effective this year against multiple strains of the virus that recently affected people in the Southern Hemisphere, Schaffner said.
“A new strain shows up, it continues to be a dominant strain for a few years. We have watched in our summer what has happened in the Southern Hemisphere in their winter,” Schaffner explained. “Their dominant strain has been the same, the H3N2 strain.”
Depending on which vaccine a person gets, the shot will protect against three or four strains of the virus. Experts pick the strains after consulting a number of factors including flu strains in other parts of the world and past outbreaks of the disease.
“At the moment, we have reasonable confidence that we are going to have a good match between the circulating virus of what’s out there and what’s in the vaccine,” Schaffner said.
Every year, 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications, according to the CDC.
“Vaccination is the single most important step people can take to protect themselves frominfluenza,” Frieden said. “Flu can be serious and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected.”