Latest News

Each news article below shows only part of the news story. To view the full story, click on Read More below the story. 

  • June 30, 2016 9:38 AM | Deleted user

    Webinar: Practical Approaches for Zika Preparedness and Response

    Join PHF and the Bio-Defense Network on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 from 1-2pm ET for a webinar focused on preparedness and response to the Zika Virus. The webinar will include information and resources from two local health departments who are addressing mosquito surveillance and control. They will share what practical and replicable efforts they are carrying out in their communities to prepare for and respond to Zika. Quality improvement methods and processes such as self-assessments, project plans, and the Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram will also be shared. Register today

  • June 30, 2016 8:40 AM | Deleted user

    By Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH
    Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

    As a doctor, I am the go-to person my friends rely on when they have a medical question. A good friend recently said to me, “I’m so overwhelmed by all of the health advice out there that I tend to just tune it all out.” She went on to say that every time she turns around, she hears something else that women should do to stay healthy: get a mammogram, get your Pap smear, get a colonoscopy, don’t smoke, exercise, get more sleep, get a flu shot, eat more kale, get a whooping cough vaccine (pertussis booster vaccine)…and I think you get her point. I certainly did.

    This got me thinking. As a woman, an oncologist, and the director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, I can help. I don’t want you ignoring anything that may help you stay healthy…and alive!  To help lighten the load, I’ve created your very own cheat sheet for cancer screenings and good health. CDC supports screening for breast, cervical, colorectal (colon), and lung cancers as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

    I’ve started your cheat sheet off with the screenings (checking your body for a disease before you have symptoms) that are available for some of the cancers that most often affect women. But I challenge you to add to it with your doctor’s recommendations for further screenings or tests based on your own health, family history, and age. Download this printable fact sheet [PDF-106KB] to take to your next appointment.

    Your Cheat Sheet to Cancer Screenings and Good Health

    Type of Cancer Screening Method When to Get Screened*
    Breast cancer Mammogram If you are 50 to 74 years old, get a screening mammogram every two years.
    Cervical cancer (two choices) Pap test (Pap smear) only If you are 21 to 65 years old, you can get a Pap test every three years.
    HPV test (combined with Pap test) Or if you are 30 to 65 years old, you can get a Pap test and an HPV test every five years.
    Colorectal (colon) cancer Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) If you are 50 to 75 years old, get tested. The schedule depends on the type of test used.
    Lung cancer Low-dose CT scan If you are 55 to 80 years old and are a heavy smoker or a past smoker who quit within the last 15 years, get a low-dose CT scan every year.

    *Talk with your doctor about when and how often you should be screened. Depending on your personal health history, family health history, or screening results, your doctor may recommend a different screening schedule.

    Printable Cheat Sheet for Women’s Cancer Screenings and Good Health

    Printable Cheat Sheet for Women’s Cancer Screenings and Good Health [PDF-106KB]

    I hope this cheat sheet helps you understand the different types of cancer screenings that are available to women. But remember, there’s more to your health than just cancer screenings. While I challenge you to make that mammogram appointment, I also encourage you to schedule a well-woman exam with your doctor every year. At this appointment, you can talk about your family history and ask about additional screenings or exams you may need for other diseases or conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, or cholesterol.

    And like any good doctor, I want to remind you of some simple things you can do every day to stay healthy:

    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit it to one drink a day.
    • Don’t smoke.

    As I get older and watch my family and friends age beside me, I see how important good health is. It sounds so easy, right? But as a working mom, wife, and daughter, I know how many different directions you are pulled in every day. But remember, the best gift you can give the people who care about you is a healthy you.

    Put YOU at the top of your to-do list today so that you can give yourself the best chance of preventing or overcoming something that doesn’t have to overcome YOU.

    Lastly, to all of you fighting cancer or caring for someone who is fighting this battle, I encourage you to take steps to stay as healthy as you can during treatment. For more information, visit CDC’s Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients Web sitefor staying healthy during cancer treatment and 3 Steps Toward Preventing Infections During Cancer Treatment  from the CDC Foundation.

  • June 30, 2016 8:37 AM | Deleted user

    On May 31, 2016, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.

    Ingrid B. Rabe, MBChB1; J. Erin Staples, MD, PhD1; Julie Villanueva, PhD1; Kimberly B. Hummel, PhD1; Jeffrey A. Johnson, PhD1; Laura Rose; MTS1; Susan Hills, MBBS1; Annemarie Wasley, ScD1; Marc Fischer, MD1; Ann M. Powers, PhD1 (View author affiliations)


    What is already known about this topic?

    Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus closely related to dengue, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever viruses. Diagnostic testing for Zika virus infection can be accomplished using both molecular and serologic methods. However, results of Zika virus antibody testing can be difficult to interpret because of cross-reactivity with related flaviviruses, which can preclude identification of the specific infecting virus, especially when the person previously was infected with or vaccinated against a related flavivirus.

    What is added by this report?

    For persons with suspected Zika virus disease, a positive real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) result confirms Zika virus infection, but a negative result does not exclude infection. In these cases, antibody testing can identify additional recent Zika virus infections. If immunoglobulin (Ig) M test results are positive, equivocal, or inconclusive, performing a plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is needed to confirm the diagnosis. However, recent evidence suggests that a 4-fold higher titer by PRNT might not discriminate between anti-Zika virus antibodies and cross-reacting antibodies in all persons who have been previously infected with or vaccinated against a related flavivirus. Thus, a more conservative approach to interpreting PRNT results is now recommended to reduce the possibility of missing the diagnosis of either Zika or dengue virus infection.

    What are the implications for public health practice?

    All patients with clinically suspected dengue should receive appropriate management to reduce the risk for hemorrhagic medical complications. Pregnant women with laboratory evidence of a recent Zika virus infection or flavivirus infection should be evaluated and managed for possible adverse pregnancy outcomes and reported to the appropriate Zika virus pregnancy registry. Health care providers should consult with state or local public health authorities for assistance in interpreting test results.

    Zika virus is a single-stranded RNA virus in the genus Flavivirus and is closely related to dengue, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever viruses (1,2). Among flaviviruses, Zika and dengue virus share similar symptoms of infection, transmission cycles, and geographic distribution. Diagnostic testing for Zika virus infection can be accomplished using both molecular and serologic methods. For persons with suspected Zika virus disease, a positive real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) result confirms Zika virus infection, but a negative rRT-PCR result does not exclude infection (37). In these cases, immunoglobulin (Ig) M and neutralizing antibody testing can identify additional recent Zika virus infections (6,7). However, Zika virus antibody test results can be difficult to interpret because of cross-reactivity with other flaviviruses, which can preclude identification of the specific infecting virus, especially when the person previously was infected with or vaccinated against a related flavivirus (8). This is important because the results of Zika and dengue virus testing will guide clinical management. Pregnant women with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection should be evaluated and managed for possible adverse pregnancy outcomes and be reported to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry or the Puerto Rico Zika Active Pregnancy Surveillance System for clinical follow-up (9,10). All patients with clinically suspected dengue should have proper management to reduce the risk for hemorrhage and shock (11). If serologic testing indicates recent flavivirus infection that could be caused by either Zika or dengue virus, patients should be clinically managed for both infections because they might have been infected with either virus.

    Rabe IB, Staples JE, Villanueva J, et al. Interim Guidance for Interpretation of Zika Virus Antibody Test Results. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65. DOI: .

    For the full report, click here.

  • June 29, 2016 10:13 AM | Deleted user

    Two candidates provided protection after just one dose; clinical trials planned for later this year

    TUESDAY, June 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Experimental studies support the effectiveness of two vaccine candidates against the Zika virus, according to research published online June 28 in Nature.

    This "critical first step" is leading to trials in monkeys and humans, "and gives us early confidence that development of a protective Zika virus vaccine for humans is feasible," said researcher Col. Nelson Michael, M.D., Ph.D., of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, Md., and one member of a team involved in the search for a vaccine against the virus.

    One of the new vaccines was developed at Harvard Medical School in Boston and is partly based on a Zika strain isolated in Brazil. The other vaccine, using a strain isolated in Puerto Rico, has been developed by Michael's team at WRAIR. Both vaccines shielded mice against Zika infection with just a single dose required, the researchers said. The two vaccines are similar to others already in use against flaviviruses, which include dengue fever, West Nile, and others. Clinical trials in humans are scheduled to begin later in 2016.

    "We showed that vaccine-induced antibodies provided protection, similar to existing vaccines for other flaviviruses," senior author Dan Barouch, M.D., Ph.D., of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said in a center news release. "The effectiveness of these vaccines, the clarity of the antibody protection, and the similarity to successful vaccines that have been developed for other flaviviruses provide substantial optimism for a clear path forward for the development of a safe and effective Zika virus vaccine for humans."

    Full Text

    Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • June 29, 2016 10:08 AM | Deleted user

    THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- The daughters of women who suffered from a severe form of morning sickness are three times more likely to be plagued by it themselves, Norwegian researchers report.

    This form of morning sickness, called hyperemesis gravidarum, involves nausea and vomiting beginning before the 22nd week of gestation. In severe cases, it can lead to weight loss. The condition occurs in up to 2 percent of pregnancies and is a common cause of hospitalization for pregnant women. It is also linked with low birth weight and premature birth, the researchers said.

    The new study suggests "a strong influence of maternal genes" on the development of the condition, said lead researcher Ase Vikanes, a graduate student at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

    "However, environmental influences along the maternal line, shared risk factors such as life styles reflected in BMI (body mass index) and smoking habits, infections and nutrition might also be contributing to the development of hyperemesis gravidarum," she added.

    The report is published in the April 30 online edition of the BMJ.

    According to Vikanes, hyperemesis gravidarum was once thought to be caused by psychological issues, "such as an unconscious rejection of the child or partner." But her team wanted to see if genetics was actually the culprit.

    For the study, Vikanes's team collected data on 2.3 million births from 1967 to 2006. They tracked the incidence of hyperemesis gravidarum in more than 500,000 mother-daughter pairs and almost 400,000 mother-son pairs.

    They found that if a mother had the condition, her daughter was three times more likely to develop it as well. However, there is no increased risk to the female partners of men whose mothers suffered through it.

    Vikanes hopes the finding adds new insight into this condition. Besides helping to illuminate possible causes, "our findings might help health care personnel who treat and counsel women with a family history of hyperemesis gravidarum," she said.

    Brad Imler, president of the American Pregnancy Association, said that "hyperemesis gravidarum is a serious condition that creates health risks for both the mother and the baby. "Research into the causes and treatments of this condition are essential for discovering ways to alleviate the condition along with the health risks related to it," he said.

    Imler cautioned that a three-fold increase in risk is not something that should cause fear among pregnant women. That "means going from 1 in 100 to 3 in 100 incidences," he noted.

    Genetics appears to have a relationship with the condition, Imler said. "However, it would be important to have further research that controlled for environmental factors, dietary intake, and lifestyle habits, which also tend to be carried on from one generation to the next," he added.

    Dr. Gene Burkett, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that, "for a long time we have thought there is a familial component, and this gives us the first real information on which we can say, 'Yes, there seems to be something that we need to pursue.'"

    However, Burkett said that the results need to be replicated in different populations before one can be sure the link is genetic.

    More information

    For more information on morning sickness, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

  • June 29, 2016 9:15 AM | Deleted user

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force seeks comments on a draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review on screening for gynecologic conditions with pelvic examination. After reviewing the evidence, the Task Force concluded that there is not enough evidence to determine the benefits or harms of performing screening pelvic exams in asymptomatic, nonpregnant adult women. The draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review are available for review and public comment from June 28 to July 25.

    Read more.

  • June 28, 2016 8:50 AM | Deleted user

    In the last week, 15 states reported new Zika virus cases to the CDC, bringing to total number of cases in the 50 states to more than 800. U.S. territories also experienced a spike in reported cases.

    Between June 17 and Wednesday, 64 new cases of Zika virus in the 50 states and the District of Columbia were reported to the CDC, bringing the total number of cases from 756 to 820. In the U.S. territories, 420 new cases were reported in the last week, bringing that total from 1,440 to 1,860. All together, there are 2,680 Zika cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday.

    There are still no reports of locally acquired Zika cases in the states, excluding the lab-acquired case in Pennsylvania, but of the 819 travel-associated cases in the states, 11 were sexually transmitted and four had Guillain-Barré syndrome. Of the 1,854 locally acquired cases in the territories, seven had Guillain-Barré syndrome.

    Sign up for our FREE E-Weekly for more coverage like this sent to your inbox!

    To see where Zika cases have been reported in the U.S. from Jan. 1 to Wednesday, check out the map below.


  • June 28, 2016 8:49 AM | Deleted user

    New research points the way toward a potential vaccine against Zika, and may explain why the formerly mild virus exploded with such fury when it arrived in Brazil.

    A pair of studies published Thursday focus on Zika's complex relationship with a related virus called dengue, a common illness in Latin America and the Caribbean that causes flu-like symptoms. Dengue is spread by the same mosquito species as Zika, and the two viruses are so similar that blood tests sometimes can't tell the two apart.

    When people are infected with dengue, or any virus, the immune system releases key proteins called antibodies to neutralize the invaders. Authors of a study published Thursday in Nature found that two of the antibodies the body makes to fight dengue also prevent Zika infections.

    That finding could help scientists develop vaccines against Zika and dengue, said study coauthor Juthathip Mongkolsapaya, a researcher at Imperial College London. Scientists also might be able to use these antibodies to treat Zika, she said.

    Several groups are already working on Zika vaccines.

    Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced this week that it has received Food and Drug Administration permission for a small, early clinical trial of a Zika vaccine it's developing with GeneOne Life Science. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is pursuing four types of Zika vaccines; officials there say they expect to begin clinical trials in August.

    Yet the close relationship between dengue and Zika has a dark side.

    There are four varieties of dengue virus. While people infected with the virus one time may develop relatively mild symptoms, those are infected a second time, with a different variety of of dengue virus, can develop severe, life-threatening complications, said Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    In a second paper, published in Nature Immunology, researchers found that the vast majority of dengue antibodies do nothing to stop Zika infection. In fact, a lab experiment showed that most dengue antibodies actually helped Zika viruses proliferate and invade cells. That suggests that people previously infected with dengue, whose antibodies against dengue remain in their blood, might have a more severe reaction to Zika, said Gavin Screaton, chair of medicine at Imperial College London.

    These results lend support to similar findings from Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research.

    Mother Jusikelly da Silva holds her 7-month-old daughter

    Mother Jusikelly da Silva holds her 7-month-old daughter Luhandra, who was born with microcephaly, as she wears her new glasses while waiting for a bus on June 2, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images)

    Not everyone is convinced that past dengue infections can make Zika cases more severe.

    While dengue antibodies may exacerbate Zika infections in the lab, there's no evidence that this happens in the real world, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    Scientists first discovered Zika in 1947, but it was never known to cause birth defects until Brazil experienced an alarming increase last year in microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development.

    Brazil has reported 1,660 cases of microcephaly, about 10 times more than usual, according to the World Health Organization. Microcephaly linked to Zika has been reported in 11 other countries or territories, including Puerto Rico, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Martinique, the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia and Cape Verde.

    These locations have different varieties of dengue viruses, Adalja said. It's possible that some varieties of the virus are more likely to be associated with Zika complications than others.

    Researchers have looked at a number of possible explanations for Zika's explosive growth, said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. It's possible Zika's spread has been aided by environmental factors, such as climate change, poverty and urbanization. It's also possible the virus has mutated.

    To really understand whether dengue antibodies exacerbate Zika infections, researchers will need to study pregnant women, said Ernesto Marques, scientific director of Cura Zika, an international alliance between the University of Pittsburgh and Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, known as Fiocruz.

    The National Institutes of Health announced this week that it will partner with Fiocruz in a study of up to 10,000 pregnant women in areas with Zika outbreaks, beginning with Puerto Rico and expanding to Brazil and Colombia.

    Leaders of the new study will study whether a past dengue infection increases the risk of complications on pregnant women and their babies. Researchers also will compare the health of babies born to mothers infected with Zika virus and those who were not, recording rates of miscarriage, premature birth, microcephaly, malformations of the nervous system and other complications.

    Researchers will study whether these problems are more common in women who had symptoms of Zika compared to those with no symptoms. Only about 20% of Zika patients develop symptoms, which include rash, fever, joint pain and pink eye. Researchers also will study whether complications are more common in women infected early in pregnancy compared to those infected later. Doctors will follow women throughout pregnancy and for six weeks after delivery.

  • June 28, 2016 8:48 AM | Deleted user

    An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery. The discovery would allow health care providers to identify women at greatest risk and help motivate women to make early lifestyle changes and follow other strategies that could prevent them from developing the disease later in life.

    Gestational diabetes is defined as glucose intolerance that is first identified during pregnancy. It occurs in three to 13 percent of all pregnant women, and increases a woman's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 20 to 50 percent within five years after pregnancy.

    The joint efforts of the University of Toronto's Michael Wheeler, a professor in the Department of Physiology, and Erica Gunderson, Senior Research Scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, led to development of a technique called targeted metabolomics to better predict the development of type 2 diabetes in women with recent gestational diabetes. Typically, diabetes is diagnosed by measuring blood sugar levels in the form of glucose, an important fuel used by cells in the body. The researchers identified several other metabolites that indicate early changes that signify future diabetes risk long before changes in glucose levels occur.

    The team tested fasting blood samples collected from women with gestational diabetes within two months after delivery -- predicting with 83 percent accuracy which women would develop the disease later on. These results were significantly better at predicting the development of type 2 diabetes than conventional methods, a fasting blood test followed by the time-consuming and inconvenient oral glucose tolerance test.

    "After delivering a baby, many women may find it very difficult to schedule two hours for another glucose test," says Wheeler, who is also a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Research Institute. "What if we could create a much more effective test that could be given to women while they're still in the hospital? Once diabetes has developed, it's very difficult to reverse."

    Related Stories

    "Early prevention is the key to minimizing the devastating effects of diabetes on health outcomes," says Dr. Gunderson. "By identifying women soon after delivery, we can focus our resources on those at greatest risk who may benefit most from concerted early prevention efforts."

    The fasting blood samples used for this study were obtained from 1,035 women diagnosed with gestational diabetes and enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente's Study of Women, Infant Feeding and Type 2 Diabetes after GDM Pregnancy, also known as the SWIFT Study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (R01 HD050625). The SWIFT study screened women with oral glucose tolerance tests at 2 months after delivery and then annually thereafter to evaluate the impact of breastfeeding and other characteristics on the development of type 2 diabetes after a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes.

    The American Diabetes Association recommends type 2 diabetes screening at six to 12 weeks after delivery in women with gestational diabetes, and every one to three years afterwards for life. The time-consuming nature of the two-hour oral glucose test is believed to be one reason for low compliance rates of less than 40 percent in some settings.

    The new method may also be able to predict individuals who may develop type 2 diabetes in the general population - a major advance at a time when more than 300 million people suffer from the preventable form of this disease. A next-generation blood test that's more simple and accurate than the current options could help to identify individuals who would benefit most from more timely and effective interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes.

    Wheeler and Gunderson are now hoping to conduct additional tests in women with gestational diabetes to evaluate racial and ethnic differences in prediction, and investigate high risk groups with prediabetes to learn if metabolomics will predict type 2 diabetes in the general population.


    University of Toronto

  • June 27, 2016 9:02 AM | Deleted user

    July 31 is the deadline to submit your CME presentation and workshop proposals for AAPA 2017 in Las Vegas! Questions? Contact

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software