Jul 3 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: July 3

UPDATE: CDC Reports Injuries from Accidental Ingestion of Wire Bristles from Grill-Cleaning Brushes

Internal injuries have been reported following unintentional ingestion of wire grill-cleaning brush bristles, according an early release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Bristles can dislodge from the grill brush and become embedded in cooked food. A series of six cases from a single hospital system were reported during July 2009–November 2010 was reported previously, and this report describes a series of six more cases identified at the same hospital system during March 2011–June 2012. The severity of injury ranged from puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain on swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring emergent surgery. Report authors recommend that people should examine the grill surface carefully for the presence of bristles before cooking. Read more on food safety.

Government Agencies Urge Caution, Safety around Home Fireworks

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released advisories regarding transporting and using fireworks. Fireworks are not permitted in checked or carry on luggage and should never be lit in a car. Read more on July 4th safety.

Infants Born at 37 or 38 Weeks at Risk for Delays that Impact School Work

A new study in Pediatrics suggests that even infants born at 37 or 38 weeks’ gestation (technically "at term," and not typically considered early) are at risk of developmental delays as well as other mental and physical health difficulties. Researchers looked at data on 128,000 babies born between 37 and 41 weeks’ gestation in New York City. Birth records were matched with public school records of standardized third-grade math and reading tests. Researchers found achievement scores for children born at 37 and 38 weeks were significantly lower than those of children born at 39, 40 or 41 weeks. Compared to children born at 41 weeks, children born at 37 weeks have a 23 percent increased risk of having a moderate reading impairment; children born at 38 weeks have a 13 percent increased risk. Math scores were also lower for children born at 37 or 38 weeks. Researchers say this study underscores the importance of prenatal care to ensure mothers carry their infants to term as long as possible. Read more on maternal and infant health.

NIH Appoints New Director for Office of Disease Prevention

David M. Murray, PhD, has been selected as the director of the Office of Disease Prevention of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to NIH, the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) is the lead office in the agency responsible for assessing, facilitating and stimulating research on disease prevention and health promotion, and disseminating the results of this research to improve public health.

Dr. Murray is currently the chair and professor of the Division of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health at Ohio State University and has focused on the design and analysis of group-randomized trials in which identifiable social groups are randomized to conditions and members of those groups are observed to assess the effect of an intervention. He also conducts research to develop and test new methods for their analysis.

Tags: Food Safety, Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups, Safety