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DHS OIG — DHS Has Not Effectively Managed Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment and Antiviral Medical Countermeasures

September 8, 2014 Comments off

DHS Has Not Effectively Managed Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment and Antiviral Medical Countermeasures (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General
From press release (dated September 9, 2014) (PDF):

In 2006, Congress appropriated $47 million in supplemental funding to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to plan, train, and prepare for a potential pandemic. An OIG audit has determined DHS cannot ensure it has sufficient personal protective equipment and antiviral medical countermeasures for a pandemic response. The report, “DHS Has Not Effectively Manage Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment and Antiviral Medical Countermeasures,” OIG-14-129, determined that DHS did not develop and implement stockpile replenishment plans or inventory controls to monitor stockpiles, have adequate contract oversight processes, or ensure compliance with Department guidelines. DHS also has no assurance that the supplies on hand remain effective.

For example, our auditors found that:

  • DHS has a reported inventory of approximately 16 million surgical masks without demonstrating a need for that quantity;
  • Personal protective equipment stockpiles include expired hand sanitizer. Out of 4,982 bottles we examined, 4,184 (84 percent) were expired, some by up to 4 years;
  • 81 percent of antiviral drugs acquired by the DHS Office of Health Affairs Component will expire by the end of 2015; and
  • DHS and its components do not know where its personal protective equipment is located, how much it has, and the usability of the stockpiles that exist.
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Association of Poor Subjective Sleep Quality With Risk for Death by Suicide During a 10-Year Period: A Longitudinal, Population-Based Study of Late Life

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Association of Poor Subjective Sleep Quality With Risk for Death by Suicide During a 10-Year Period: A Longitudinal, Population-Based Study of Late Life
Source: JAMA Psychiatry

Importance
Older adults have high rates of sleep disturbance, die by suicide at disproportionately higher rates compared with other age groups, and tend to visit their physician in the weeks preceding suicide death. To our knowledge, to date, no study has examined disturbed sleep as an independent risk factor for late-life suicide.

Objective
To examine the relative independent risk for suicide associated with poor subjective sleep quality in a population-based study of older adults during a 10-year observation period.

Design, Setting, and Participants
A longitudinal case-control cohort study of late-life suicide among a multisite, population-based community sample of older adults participating in the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly. Of 14 456 community older adults sampled, 400 control subjects were matched (on age, sex, and study site) to 20 suicide decedents.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Primary measures included the Sleep Quality Index, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale, and vital statistics.

Results
Hierarchical logistic regressions revealed that poor sleep quality at baseline was significantly associated with increased risk for suicide (odds ratio [OR], 1.39; 95% CI, 1.14-1.69; P < .001) by 10 follow-up years. In addition, 2 sleep items were individually associated with elevated risk for suicide at 10-year follow-up: difficulty falling asleep (OR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.27-3.93; P < .01) and nonrestorative sleep (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.28-3.67; P < .01). Controlling for depressive symptoms, baseline self-reported sleep quality was associated with increased risk for death by suicide (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.04-1.63; P < .05)

Conclusions and Relevance
Our results indicate that poor subjective sleep quality is associated with increased risk for death by suicide 10 years later, even after adjustment for depressive symptoms. Disturbed sleep appears to confer considerable risk, independent of depressed mood, for the most severe suicidal behaviors and may warrant inclusion in suicide risk assessment frameworks to enhance detection of risk and intervention opportunity in late life.

Health Department Use of Social Media to Identify Foodborne Illness — Chicago, Illinois, 2013–2014

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Health Department Use of Social Media to Identify Foodborne Illness — Chicago, Illinois, 2013–2014
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

An estimated 55 million to 105 million persons in the United States experience acute gastroenteritis caused by foodborne illness each year, resulting in costs of $2–$4 billion annually (1). Many persons do not seek treatment, resulting in underreporting of the actual number of cases and cost of the illnesses (2). To prevent foodborne illness, local health departments nationwide license and inspect restaurants (3) and track and respond to foodborne illness complaints. New technology might allow health departments to engage with the public to improve foodborne illness surveillance (4). For example, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene examined restaurant reviews from an online review website to identify foodborne illness complaints (5). On March 23, 2013, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and its civic partners launched FoodBorne Chicago (6), a website (https://www.foodbornechicago.orgExternal Web Site Icon) aimed at improving food safety in Chicago by identifying and responding to complaints on Twitter about possible foodborne illnesses. In 10 months, project staff members responded to 270 Twitter messages (tweets) and provided links to the FoodBorne Chicago complaint form. A total of 193 complaints of possible foodborne illness were submitted through FoodBorne Chicago, and 133 restaurants in the city were inspected. Inspection reports indicated 21 (15.8%) restaurants failed inspection, and 33 (24.8%) passed with conditions indicating critical or serious violations. Eight tweets and 19 complaint forms to FoodBorne Chicago described seeking medical treatment. Collaboration between public health professionals and the public via social media might improve foodborne illness surveillance and response. CDPH is working to disseminate FoodBorne Chicago via freely available open source software.

Household Food Security in the United States in 2013

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Household Food Security in the United States in 2013
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

An estimated 14.3 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2013, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The change from 14.5 percent in 2012 was not statistically significant.The prevalence of very low food security was essentially unchanged at 5.6 percent.

See also: Household Food Security in the United States in 2013: Statistical Supplement

Ebola Virus Disease: Occupational safety and health

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Ebola Virus Disease: Occupational safety and health
Source: World Health Organization

This briefing note is based on the existing WHO and ILO guides and recommendations for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) at the time of the publication. It will be updated as new information and recommendations become available.

Notice to Readers: Final 2013 Reports of Nationally Notifiable Infectious Diseases

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Notice to Readers: Final 2013 Reports of Nationally Notifiable Infectious Diseases
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Table 2 listed on pages 703–15 summarizes finalized data, as of June 30, 2014, from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) for 2013. These data will be published in more detail next year in the Summary of Notifiable Diseases — United States, 2013 (1). Because no cases were reported in the United States during 2013, the following diseases do not appear in these early release tables: anthrax; diphtheria; eastern equine encephalitis, nonneuroinvasive disease; poliovirus infection, nonparalytic; severe acute respiratory syndrome–associated coronavirus disease (SARS-CoV); smallpox; St. Louis encephalitis, nonneuroinvasive disease; western equine encephalitis, neuroinvasive and nonneuroinvasive disease; yellow fever; and viral hemorrhagic fevers. Data on chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection (past or present) are not included because they are undergoing data quality review. Data for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses do not appear because CDC is transitioning to a new system for processing national HIV surveillance data, and will be published in the Summary of Notifiable Diseases — United States, 2013.

Emergency department visits linked to zolpidem overmedication nearly doubled

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Emergency department visits linked to zolpidem overmedication nearly doubled
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The estimated number of emergency department visits involving zolpidem overmedication (taking more than the prescribed amount) nearly doubled from 21,824 visits in 2005-2006 to 42,274 visits in 2009-2010, according to a new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report also indicates that 68 percent of all zolpidem overmedication visits in 2010 involved females, the number of zolpidem overmedication emergency department visits for males increased 150 percent from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 compared to an increase of 69 percent for females over the same time period.

In 2010 there were a total of 4,916,328 drug-related visits to emergency departments throughout the nation.

Other prescription drugs were involved in 57 percent of the emergency department visits involving zolpidem overmedication. These medications included benzodiazepines (26 percent) and narcotic pain relievers (25 percent). Alcohol was also combined with zolpidem in 14 percent of these hospital emergency department visits.

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