Entries in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (23)


CDC Working to Develop Vaccine Virus Against H7N9 Avian Flu

James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control(NEW YORK) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to develop and evaluate a vaccine virus against the H7N9 avian influenza, as the number of human infections and related deaths rises in China.

China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported 11 new H7N9 cases Sunday and two more deaths, bringing the total number of reported cases to 60 and the death toll to 13.

The CDC is completing work on a diagnostic test kit for use both domestically and internationally, according to Chief of Influenza Division Nancy Cox. The agency is also preparing to test the virus against common flu drugs and is working on making a candidate vaccine virus, which could be used to make a vaccine.

Additionally, the CDC is working on a blood test to be able to measure levels of existing immunity in the population, Cox said in an email to ABC News. This could help determine how many people have been asymptomatically infected.

The agency will also perform tests to determine how transmissible and pathogenic the virus is.

Of the 60 H7N9 cases reported in China, there were 24 in Shanghai, 16 in Jiangsu, 15 in Zhejiang, two in Anhui, two in Henan and one in Beijing, according to Xinhua.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Children Are Consuming Fewer Calories, CDC Says

Steven Puetzer/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- While 17 percent of American children and adolescents are still obese, they are consuming fewer calories than they were a decade ago, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey says boys are now taking in about 2,100 calories a day, while girls are consuming 1,755.  That's down from the 2,258 and 1,831 calories boys and girls, respectively, took in between 1999 and 2000.

In the survey, the CDC also notes that kids are now getting more of their calories from protein and less from carbohydrates.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


CDC: Fast Food Makes Up 11% of Adults' Daily Calories

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- How much fast food do you eat?

According to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.3 percent of the calories adults consume on a daily basis come from fast food.

Using data from 2007 to 2010, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that African-American adults between the ages of 20 and 39 ate the most fast food, constituting more than 20 percent of their daily caloric intake.  Adults 60 and over, on the other hand, consumed the least amount -- 6 percent.

The survey also found that income and one's weight can factor into how much fast food a person consumes.

Among the youngest age group studied -- 20 to 39 -- intake of fast food declined as income increased.  And, among all adults, researchers found that those who were obese ate the most.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


CDC Turns from Zombies to ‘Outbreak’ with iPad App

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the folks who brought the world a controversial zombie apocalypse campaign, has launched a free iPad app that lets users play a game to stem a fictitious epidemic.

Users of the app, called “Solve the Outbreak,” can pretend they’re a public health detective by taking steps such as quarantining a village, asking for more lab results and interviewing sick people.  Good problem-solving skills are rewarded by high points and badges.

“We look at this as an engaging opportunity to educate young people to how public health actually works, and hopefully to draw some future epidemiologists,” CDC spokesman Alex Casanova told ABC News.

The app was developed in-house and cost $110,000 to develop, minus salaries, and so far it’s been downloaded about 2,000 times, he said.  The goal is to get between 15,000 and 25,000 downloads in a year.

The game is the CDC’s latest attempt to use pop culture to entice the public to prepare for a major outbreak.  In May 2011, the CDC unveiled a zombie-themed campaign, which included downloadable zombie-themed posters and a novella called “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic.”

The agency called the campaign “tongue-in-cheek,” but later, after a string of grisly violent incidents, the CDC had to make an official statement saying there’s no evidence of a coming zombie apocalypse.

An agency official told ABC News in September that the zombie idea came after Twitter users responded to the agency’s question about what type of disasters they were prepared for.

“It can be tough to get people thinking about emergency preparedness before disaster strikes.  We’ve created these zombie posters to spark some attention and get people involved before it’s too late,” the CDC said in a statement at the time.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


CDC: Laundry Detergent Pods an 'Emerging Public Health Hazard'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- There's a new warning for parents who use laundry pods and how kids are mistaking them for bright, colorful candy and eating them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Thursday saying that during a 30-day period this summer, there were 1,008 cases of children eating the detergent pods.  Initial reports suggested poison centers across the country were seeing an average of 10 cases a day.

Ninety-four percent of poisonings from the laundry detergent pods are among kids 5 years old and younger, according to the CDC's report.

The CDC says that exposure to the detergent pods is "an emerging public health hazard in the United States."

Parents are learning just how dangerous the bite-sized laundry detergent pods really are.  The concentrated packet of detergent sent 1-year-old Isabella Sutton to the hospital after she ate one.

"I just figured they got into candy, and they were eating candy," Jessica Sutton, Isabella's mom, told ABC News.

Minutes later, Isabella had severe vomiting and diarrhea before being rushed to the emergency room.  Similar reactions have been reported across the country with many children also experiencing drowsiness, nausea and potentially life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing.

"You don't think about safety proofing laundry detergent," Sutton said.

The makers of Tide detergent -- Proctor & Gamble -- told ABC News in May they planned to unveil new childproof packaging by the summer.  The new packaging features a double latch lid and a larger warning label on the container that some critics say looks like a candy jar.

Proctor & Gamble has distributed the new containers, but never recalled the old ones.  ABC News visited four stores this week and found the old, easy to open plastic containers on shelves.

Proctor & Gamble told ABC News that they are adding an over-the-lid re-sealable sticker that will "gradually be available as of December in stores."  Consumers who would like to use the re-sealable sticker earlier can do so by calling 1-877-751-7227 beginning Nov. 1.

Henkel -- the maker of Purex Ultra Packs -- told ABC News that since May, they have "updated the packaging with clearer labels to warn parents about the risks and to provide more specific instructions in the event of ingestion."

Other detergent manufacturers who previously told ABC News in May that they were reviewing the safety packaging did not respond to requests for an update.

Until changes are made, poison control experts say the onus falls on the parents to keep the detergent packets locked up and out of the reach of children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC: Dip in Oral Sex Among Teens, But Numbers Still High

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released data on Thursday that revealed an overall decrease in oral sex among adolescents between 2002 and 2010, reflecting a similar small decline in vaginal intercourse within the same age group.

A drop in oral sex was seen among females, but the numbers of males engaged in the behavior was the same.

Experts said two-thirds of all youth between the ages of 15 and 24 had an experience with oral sex, risky behavior that the federal government said is contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The report, "Prevalence and Timing of Oral Sex With Opposite-Sex Partners Among Females and Males Aged 15-24 Years: United States," included data from the CDC's National Survey of Family Growth.  The data came from 6,346 interviews among young adults from 2007 to 2010.

In the youngest group, ages 15 to 19, which did not include married males, the report said that 41 percent of females and 47 percent of males had received oral sex.  Forty-three percent of girls in that group had given oral sex, while 35 percent of boys had.

For both sexes between the ages of 20 to 24, the numbers go up: 81 percent of females and 80 percent of males had engaged in oral sex.

Some data suggest that many adolescents engage in oral sex because they believe it is safer and preserves their virginity, according to a CDC 2009 fact sheet.

The CDC has taken an increased interest in the data because of the rise of sexually transmitted diseases, including a spike in HIV infection rates among males 13 to 29 years old. Although the risk for HIV/AIDS through oral sex is lower than vaginal intercourse or anal sex, according to the CDC, the transmission rates for genital herpes, gonorrhea and syphilis are considerably higher. Some studies have found that an increase in oral cancers in the United States is associated with the human papillomavirus, and researchers attribute that to the popularity of oral sex.

One of the findings of the NCHS report was that of those adolescents who'd had oral sex, only 5.1 percent of females and 6.5 percent of males stopped there.  The overwhelming majority of 15- to 24-year-olds went on to have vaginal intercourse. These findings underscore previous studies that found having oral sex was a strong indicator for engaging in sexual intercourse.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


HIV Infections Rising in Young Gay Men in Urban US

ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- Despite decades of prevention efforts, HIV continues to increase among young gay men in urban areas, and most of these men are unaware they are infected, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers looked at survey data spanning from 1994 to 2008 on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men ages 18 to 29 years old living in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and San Francisco, recruited from bars and nightclubs.  The study focused on HIV prevalence as well as HIV testing.

They found that among those ages 23 to 29 years old, there was a trend towards increasing HIV prevalence from 1994 to 2008, with an overall prevalence of 16 percent.

“The fact that new infections increased somewhat in the 23- to 29-year-old age group indicates that this is a population that we need to be extremely concerned about and that we really need to be trying to reach them early with prevention so that we can establish healthy behaviors early on,” said Dr. Alexa Oster, lead author of the study and medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

Among gay men ages 18 to 22, the overall HIV prevalence was 11 percent, and this number remained steady over the 14-year time span of the study.

Why is there a lack of progress in stemming the epidemic among young gay men?  It turns out there are many factors that lead to higher rates of HIV disease in the gay community at large.  

As Dr. Chris Beyrer, director of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains, “there are structural, social and biological features that enormously favor transmission over prevention [among men who have sex with men].”

For young gay men in the United States specifically, certain external factors may put them at particularly high risk for HIV.

“There may be socioeconomic reasons that men are less likely to get into testing and care,” Oster said.  “There may be issues related to stigma or homophobia.  And all of those are important factors that may have a unique effect on the youngest populations.”

According to the CDC study, more than three-quarters of young gay men in urban areas were unaware they were HIV-positive, compared to 20 percent in the general population.  While there were significant increases in the proportion of men who underwent HIV testing over the course of the study, “there is more work to be done,” Oster said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC Under Attack for 'Serious' Air Containment Problems

James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control(ATLANTA) -- The government agency charged with preventing the spread of infectious diseases has come under attack today for "serious" containment problems in an Atlanta building that houses anthrax, SARS and monkeypox.

Documents and emails obtained by USA Today suggest that a poorly engineered airflow system in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Building 18 could expose unprotected staff and visitors to dangerous airborne pathogens.

"As the door closed a very noticeable puff of air could be felt coming through the slit in the window out into the 'clean' corridor," CDC safety inspector Eddie Jackson wrote in a Feb. 16 email to a top safety official after feeling air flow out of a potentially contaminated lab and into a communal hallway. "Don't know whether this was a fluke or the norm, and the reason I'm commenting is one of the visitors seemed concerned and has been talking about it since we've come back."

The documents suggest a breach in biosafety regulations, imposed nationwide by the CDC itself, that dictate labs housing the most dangerous inhalable infectious agents must be maintained under "negative pressure."

"This means that the pressure inside the room is less than the pressure outside the room, so that all air will flow in; none will flow out," said ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.

Besser, who is the former head of the CDC's Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, said airflow systems serve as a final safeguard, keeping dangerous germs confined to labs where workers are properly protected by gear that may include gloves, laboratory clothing and respirators.

No one was infected during the Feb. 16 incident, USA Today reported. But the scare is the latest in a string of safety problems plaguing Building 18, the agency's seven-year-old, $214 million Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory.

In 2007, backup generators failed to keep airflow systems working during a power outage. And in 2008, the door to a lab housing Coxiella Burnetii was found to be sealed with duct tape after a ventilation system malfunction. Nine workers were tested for the bacterium, which causes Q fever, but none were infected.

"This is yet another incident that calls into question the CDC's self-inspection policy," Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., told Congress at the time, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I highly doubt that the CDC would accept duct-taped doors on the privately owned bio labs it inspects."

Besser agreed the airflow problem, and the apparent failure of CDC officials to respond quickly and effectively to staff concerns, highlights the problem of self-inspection.

"Laboratory safety is not an area where you want to have this much self-policing," he said. "There is clearly an appearance of conflict of interest in having the insepction program at CDC given the number of laboratories housed within the agency."

Minutes from a February 2010 meeting suggest the agency knew it would fail its own inspection.

"Bottom line is we can't continue to operate the building the way it is," said CDC safety manager William Howard, according to minutes obtained by USA Today. "If (a lab inspector) finds out air is moving this direction they will shut this place down."

The CDC did not immediately respond to ABC News requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC Shows Burger Size Has Tripled in Last 50 Years

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new graphic from the CDC shows how the size of a burger has tripled over the past 50 years. Today's average fast food burger clocks in at 12 ounces, compared to the mere 3.9 ounces it weighed in the 1950s.

Burgers weren't the only food to get a growth-spurt, fries and soft drinks grew right alongside it.

The size of fries has increased from 2.4 to 6.7 ounces and soft drinks have skyrocketed from 7 to 42 ounces.

"The large is the new small and it makes it very difficult for us from the nutrition standpoint," says ABC News Good Morning America contributor and nutritionist Diane Henderiks.

Henderiks recommends always ordering a small when you go out, saying "today's small is probably what a large used to be in the fifties."

She suggests eye-balling a portion the size of a tennis ball when making burgers. If you have a scale at home, each patty should weigh about 3 ounces.

While most recipes call for much larger portions, you can also alter the size of patty to a smaller size.

"Traditional sliders should be an ounce or two," she says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly 1 in 4 Babies Born to Unmarried Parents Who Live Together

David De Lossy/Digital Vision(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly 1 in 4 babies in the U.S. are born to heterosexual couples who live together, but are not married, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After interviewing more than 22,000 men and women aged 15 to 44 between 2006 and 2010, the public health agency found that out of 46 percent of first births that were to unwed couples during that time period, nearly half -- about 23 percent -- were to women in cohabiting relationships.

Compared to 2002, the figure was a signicant increase.  Among women 10 years ago, 12 percent of first births were to those living -- unmarried -- with their partners.  By 2006-2010, the total jumped to 22 percent.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio