Entries in CDC (7)


CDC: Marijuana Use More Common Than Cigarette Use Among Teens

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Marijuana use among high school students is on the rise while cigarette use remains the same, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual survey of teens and risky behavior.

"For the first time since CDC began collecting YRBS data in 1991, current marijuana use among U.S. high school students was more common than current cigarette use," says Howell Wechsler, the director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.

The 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) finds that 23 percent of teens admitted to smoking pot compared to 18 percent who reported smoking cigarettes.

And the disparity isn't because more teens are saying no to tobacco.

"YRBS results also show that from 2009 to 2011, there's been no significant progress in reducing cigarette use, while marijuana use among high school students is on the rise," says Wechsler.

While "there's no one simple solution to reducing the prevalence of health risk behaviors among high school students," he says "how well we address these behaviors now will greatly impact the overall picture of health for our nation's youth in the future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


One in Three Teens Text While Driving, CDC Finds

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While teen drivers have reduced some risky behaviors behind the wheel, such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving while intoxicated, many still engage in other dangerous practices, according to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds that one in three high school students had texted or emailed while driving during the past 30 days.

"Texting or email while driving can have deadly consequences that are entirely preventable," says Howell Wechsler, the director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.  "Studies show that activities such as texting are particularly dangerous because they take the drivers attention away from driving more frequently and for longer period of times than other distractions."

Combined with their inexperience, texting puts young drivers at risk for car accidents.

"Due to their lack of experience behind the wheel, younger drivers under the age of 20 are at increased risk and at the highest proportion of distraction related fatal crashes," says Wechsler.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American youth, according to the CDC.  They account for more than one in three teen deaths each year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC Official Accused of Child Molesting, Bestiality

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been arrested for allegedly molesting a child and bestiality, according to police in DeKalb County, Ga.

Kimberly Lindsey, 44, a deputy director at the CDC, is charged with child molestation and bestiality for two incidences involving a 6-year-old child. Lindsey's live-in boyfriend, Thomas Westerman, 42, is also being charged with child molestation.

The pair is accused of involving the child in their sex acts, including allowing the boy to spank Lindsey's nude buttocks and letting him use an electric sex toy on her, according to warrants issued for their arrests.

Lindsey is also accused of performing sexual acts with two pets.

Police said they found evidence in the home during a search that led to the issuance of the warrants, though they would not comment on the nature of the alleged evidence.

The pair turned themselves in on Sunday after they learned warrants had been issued for their arrests, police told ABC affiliate WSB-TV.

Officers said a medical professional treating the victim alerted police. The incidences are alleged to have occurred in January of 2010 and August of 2011.

Lindsey is a deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office at the CDC, where she oversees $1.5 billion in funds that are disbursed across the agency for emergency response funding. She is listed as "Top Leadership" on the organization's website, which also says she has worked extensively with bioterrorism prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, and laboratory testing.

The website says she got her PhD from Emory and undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida.

Lindsey was released on $20,000 bond and Westerman was released on $15,000 bond. Neither Lindsey nor Westerman could immediately be reached Tuesday.

The CDC had no comment other than to say its policy is to let situations like this play out in the criminal justice system.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CDC Prepares for Zombie Apocalypse...Kind Of

Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- a government agency -- hasn't outright predicted a zombie apocalypse, but rest assured, if one should occur, the CDC says it's prepared.

In a post that caught the attention of geeks and politicos alike, the CDC this week posted a guide, called "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse," to ensure public safety in the event of a zombie uprising.

"The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen," the CDC says in a blog post. "In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way.  The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder 'How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?'"

As you may have guessed, the post isn't all that serious (Editor’s note: We are not denying the possibility of a zombie apocalypse); it's merely intended to prepare the public for more practical emergencies, like hurricanes or wide-spread illness.

The page was developed to remind people to assemble emergency supply kits with items like water, food, and both prescription and non-prescription medication. This, they say, will "get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp," or, perhaps more realistically "in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored."

The agency also suggests that families map out an emergency plan. "This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step." But of course, "You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency."


And don't worry. If zombies do take over, the CDC says it "would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak."

No word on what they've got planned for Judgment Day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


$41 Billion: Annual Cost of US Crash-Related Deaths

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Fatalities resulting from auto accidents cost $41 billion in medical costs and lost wages each year, according to a report out Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, based on deaths in 2005, found that the highest costs -- in fact, half of the overall total -- came in just 10 states: California ($4.16 billion), Texas ($3.50 billion), Florida ($3.16 billion), Georgia ($1.55 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.52 billion), North Carolina ($1.50 billion), New York ($1.33 billion), Illinois ($1.32 billion), Ohio ($1.23 billion), and Tennessee ($1.15 billion).

"Deaths from motor vehicle crashes are preventable," said the CDC's Thomas Frieden. "Seat belts, graduated driver's license programs, child safety seats, and helmet use save lives and reduce health care costs."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Pregnancy Rates Decline

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Teen birth rates dropped in 2009 to the lowest level ever recorded, and the declines occurred over all racial and ethnic groups. Rates have been going down for teens aged 15-17 since 1991 and have been declining consistently for older teens aged 18-19 since 2007.

"We do have data for the first six months, not by age, but just general birth data, for the first six months of 2010 and that showed a continuing decline in births, so that suggests to us that it will probably continue," says Stephanie Ventura of the CDC in Hyattsville, Maryland. She is Chief of Reproductive Statistics with the National Center for Health Statistics.

The birth rate was 39.1 births per thousand females aged 15-19 years old. Rates fell significantly for all age groups and all racial and ethnic groups.

"Very good news because the rate had gone up for a couple of years in the mid-2000s and people were concerned that there, you know, that we might have a reversal in that direction", according to Ventura.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CDC, FDA Investigating Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Center for Disease Control announced that it will work with the FDA and state public officials in several states and Washington, D.C. to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections.

Eighty-nine individuals in 15 states and Washington, D.C have reportedly been infected with a strain of Salmonella serotype I 4,[5],12:i: between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21 in Connecticut (1), Washington, D.C. (1), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (50), Indiana (9), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (14), New York (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (1), Virginia (1) and Wisconsin (3), respectively.  Infected patients range in age from one to 75, with a median age of 28. 

Though no deaths have been reported, 23 percent of documented cases have been hospitalized.  The CDC says that patients generally experience illness for four to seven days, with most patients recovering without any treatment.

Preliminary results of the ongoing investigation have linked eating alfalfa sprouts at a national food chain to some reported cases of exposure.  The CDC advises consumers with weakened immune systems (children, elderly, pregnant women and those with immune deficiencies) to avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (alfalfa, clover, radish and mug bean sprouts).  Consumers should cook sprouts thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria and request that raw sprouts not be added to food at restaurants or otherwise. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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