Public Health News Roundup: August 30
The National Weather Service (NWS) says Tropical Storm Katia has formed and could be a hurricane-strength storm by Wednesday or Thursday. For now the storm is projected to become a major hurricane by the weekend, but it is too early to tell whether the storm will affect the United States. Katia replaces the name Katrina in the NWS name directory. The name Katrina will never be used again by the Weather Service because of the devastation caused by that storm six years ago.
A news release from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is urging heightened readiness and surveillance against a possible major resurgence of the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. The agency says there are signs that a mutant strain of the virus is spreading in Asia and beyond, and that the strain may have unpredictable risks to human health.
A new study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds that a written questionnaire to identify students with mental health problems, followed by one-on-one interviews with professionals, can help identify and refer teens at risk. Untreated mental health issues can result in drug and alcohol abuse, school failure and suicide.
The National Institutes of Health has announced the development of a central database on traumatic brain injuries, the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research database, to be funded at $10 million over four years. The database is designed to accelerate comparative effectiveness research on brain injury treatment and diagnosis, and will serve as a central repository for new data, link to current databases and allow comparison of results across studies in a common, easily available format.
Through Labor Day, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is running its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, with national advertising. The DOT says new research shows fatal crashes involving drunk drivers occur most often between midnight and 3 a.m., claiming a life every 23 minutes. The DOT says the current campaign involves more than 10,000 police departments and other law enforcement agencies across the U.S.