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Reducing black carbon emissions from diesel vehicles : impacts, control strategies, and cost-benefit analysis

May 23, 2014 Comments off

Reducing black carbon emissions from diesel vehicles : impacts, control strategies, and cost-benefit analysis
Source: World Bank

A 2013 scientific assessment of black carbon emissions and impacts found that black carbon is second to carbon dioxide in terms of its climate forcing. High concentrations of black carbon in the atmosphere can change precipitation patterns and reduce the amount of radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, which affects local agriculture. Acute and chronic exposures to particulate matter are associated with a range of diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma, as well as premature deaths from cardiopulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory infections. The transportation sector accounted for approximately 19 percent of global black carbon emissions in the year 2000. This report aims to inform efforts to control black carbon emissions from diesel-based transportation in developing countries. It presents a summary of emissions control approaches from developed countries, while recognizing that developing countries face a number of on-the-ground implementation challenges. This study applies a new cost-benefit analysis methodology to four simulated diesel black carbon emissions control projects – diesel retrofit in Istanbul, green freight (plus retrofit) in Sao Paulo, fuel and vehicle standards in Jakarta, and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in Cebu taking into account the additional climate benefits of black carbon reductions. While this report focuses on quantifying just the health and climate benefits of transport interventions, it also serves to highlight the challenges that can be faced when undertaking more comprehensive evaluation of transport projects. A cost-benefit framework for economic analysis of diesel black carbon emissions control transport projects is also presented that factors in both climate and health benefits. Historically, technical interventions to control diesel black carbon emissions in developed countries have successfully relied on fuel quality improvements and vehicle emissions standards.

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The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport

May 22, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Outdoor air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the world every year, and causes health problems from asthma to heart disease for many more. This is costing societies very large amounts in terms of the value of lives lost and ill health. Based on extensive new epidemiological evidence since the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, and OECD estimates of the Value of Statistical Life, this report provides evidence on the health impacts from air pollution and the related economic costs.

CDC — Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. More than 30% of these people died.

So far, all the cases have been linked to countries in the Arabian Peninsula. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is no evidence of sustained spreading in community settings.

On May 2, 2014, the first U.S. case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. The traveler is considered to be fully recovered and has been released from the hospital. Public health officials have contacted healthcare workers, family members, and travelers who had close contact with the patient. At this time, none of these contacts has had evidence of being infected with MERS-CoV.

On May 11, 2014, a second U.S. imported case of MERS was confirmed in a traveler who also came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. This patient is currently hospitalized and doing well. People who had close contact with this patient are being contacted. The two U.S. cases are not linked.

Potentially Preventable Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 2008–2010

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Potentially Preventable Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death — United States, 2008–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In 2010, the top five causes of death in the United States were 1) diseases of the heart, 2) cancer, 3) chronic lower respiratory diseases, 4) cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), and 5) unintentional injuries (1). The rates of death from each cause vary greatly across the 50 states and the District of Columbia (2). An understanding of state differences in death rates for the leading causes might help state health officials establish disease prevention goals, priorities, and strategies. States with lower death rates can be used as benchmarks for setting achievable goals and calculating the number of deaths that might be prevented in states with higher rates. To determine the number of premature annual deaths for the five leading causes of death that potentially could be prevented (“potentially preventable deaths”), CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System mortality data from 2008–2010. The number of annual potentially preventable deaths per state before age 80 years was determined by comparing the number of expected deaths (based on average death rates for the three states with the lowest rates for each cause) with the number of observed deaths. The results of this analysis indicate that, when considered separately, 91,757 deaths from diseases of the heart, 84,443 from cancer, 28,831 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, 16,973 from cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), and 36,836 from unintentional injuries potentially could be prevented each year. In addition, states in the Southeast had the highest number of potentially preventable deaths for each of the five leading causes. The findings provide disease-specific targets that states can use to measure their progress in preventing the leading causes of deaths in their populations.

Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans
Source: Feeding America

The Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans research study documents the health and nutrition implications of food insecurity among seniors aged 60 and older. The study reveals that senior food insecurity is associated with lower nutrient intake and an increased risk for chronic health conditions.

Compared to food secure seniors, food insecure seniors are:

  • 60 percent more likely to experience depression
  • 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack
  • 52 percent more likely to develop asthma
  • 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure

In addition, Spotlight on Senior Health highlights that the senior population is particularly vulnerable to the negative health and nutrition implications of food insecurity compared to other adult age groups.

Trends in Tuberculosis — United States, 2013

March 25, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Tuberculosis — United States, 2013
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (PDF)

In 2013, a total of 9,588 new tuberculosis (TB) cases were reported in the United States, with an incidence rate of 3.0 cases per 100,000 population, a decrease of 4.2% from 2012 (1). This report summarizes provisional TB surveillance data reported to CDC in 2013. Although case counts and incidence rates continue to decline, certain populations are disproportionately affected. The TB incidence rate among foreign-born persons in 2013 was approximately 13 times greater than the incidence rate among U.S.-born persons, and the proportion of TB cases occurring in foreign-born persons continues to increase, reaching 64.6% in 2013. Racial/ethnic disparities in TB incidence persist, with TB rates among non-Hispanic Asians almost 26 times greater than among non-Hispanic whites. Four states (California, Texas, New York, and Florida), home to approximately one third of the U.S. population, accounted for approximately half the TB cases reported in 2013. The proportion of TB cases occurring in these four states increased from 49.9% in 2012 to 51.3% in 2013. Continued progress toward TB elimination in the United States will require focused TB control efforts among populations and in geographic areas with disproportionate burdens of TB.

See also: Implementation of New TB Screening Requirements for U.S.-Bound Immigrants and Refugees — 2007–2014

Trends in Pediatric and Adult Hospital Stays for Asthma, 2000-2010

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Pediatric and Adult Hospital Stays for Asthma, 2000-2010
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the airways. It restricts the passage of air into the lungs and leads to episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Severe asthmatic episodes can close off airways completely and, in some cases, may be life-threatening.1

In 2010, approximately 7.0 million children aged 0—17 years and 18.7 million adults aged 18 years and older had a diagnosis of asthma. The prevalence of asthma in the United States has increased from 7.3 percent of the population in 2001 to 8.4 percent in 2010.2

Asthma is largely controllable with proper primary care, and the need for hospitalization can usually be prevented. However, differences in rates of hospitalization for asthma suggest that there is significant room for improvement in caring for the condition.

This Statistical Brief presents data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) on trends in pediatric and adult inpatient hospital stays for asthma at U.S. community hospitals from 2000 through 2010. In addition, we present patient characteristics of pediatric and adult hospital stays for asthma in 2010. Differences that are noted in the text exhibit at least a 10 percent difference between estimates and are statistically significant at 0.05 or better.

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