Apr 30 2012

Public Health News Roundup: April 30

CDC Says Plane Scare Unlikely to Have Been Monkey Pox

Investigators from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded a plane to examine—and then release—a woman with a rash who arrived back in the US from Uganda late last week. The immediate concern had been monkey pox, a sometimes fatal infectious disease that is similar to smallpox, but CDC investigators say her symptoms were not consistent with the illness. News sources say her rash was likely the result of bed bug bites

Read an interview with the screen writer and an advisor to the film “Contagion”

Low Literacy in Math and Reading Can Lead to Medication Dosing Errors by Parents

Parents with math skills at the third grade level or below were five times more likely to measure the wrong dose of medication for their child than those with skills at the sixth grade level or higher, according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

Researchers say dosing liquid medications correctly can be especially confusing because parents have to read and understand dosing for different ages and weights and understand the measurement markings on dosing cups, droppers and syringes.

Read more on health literacy.

Text Messaging May Help Increase Immunization Rates

A new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that text message reminders to parents about flu vaccinations may help boost the number of children vaccinated. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and followed 9,213 children and adolescents ages six months to 18 years—primarily from minority households. Parents of children assigned to the text-message intervention received up to five weekly texts providing educational information and instructions on where the vaccinations were administered. Everyone in the study received an automated telephone reminder, and access to informational flyers posted at the study sites.

At the end of the study, a higher proportion of children and adolescents in the intervention group (43.6 percent) than in the control group (39.9 percent) had been vaccinated against the flu.

Read about text messaging interventions in public health.

Tags: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Health Literacy, News roundups, Public and Community Health, Technology