Public Health News Roundup: July 19
AARP: Foreclosures Increase for Older Americans
A new study from the AARP Public Policy Institute has found that more than 1.5 million older Americans have lost their homes since 2007. In addition, the percentage of seriously delinquent loans—those in foreclosure and loans 90 or more days delinquent—increased from 1.1 percent in 2007 to 6.0 percent as of December 2011 for people age 50 and older, a more than five-fold increase. Unstable housing can put people at greater risk for many health issues. Read more on housing.
New York State Reports Increased Number of Pertussis Cases
Because of an increased number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases in New York State, the state’s health commissioner, Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, is urging state residents who are un-immunized and under-immunized to get vaccinated against the disease.
Preliminary figures for New York State report 970 cases so far in 2012, compared with 931 cases in all of 2011. There were 722 total cases reported in 2010, and 265 in 2009. Through June 4, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of cases in the U.S. was nearly 44 percent higher than the number reported in the same period the prior year. In 2011 three infants died from complications of pertussis in New York. Later today, the CDC will issue an update on pertussis cases in Washington State, which has seen a significant rise in cases so far this year. Read more on infectious disease.
Continuing Drought Leads to 39 Additional Counties in 8 States Declared Natural Disaster Areas
The USDA this week designated 39 additional counties in eight states as natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. During the 2012 crop year, the Department of Agriculture designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas. The additional counties are in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, and the USDA is currently reporting that 61 percent of the continental United States is in a moderate to exceptional drought.
Hot and dry conditions around the nation have damaged or slowed maturation of crops such as corn and land. Read more news from USDA.