Public Health News Roundup: October 25
CDC Advisory Committee Recommends Pertussis Immunization for Pregnant Women
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices has sent a recommendation to the CDC director that all pregnant women receive the Tdap version of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine during every pregnancy, even if they’ve previously gotten the vaccine. The recommendation is aimed at improving protection against pertussis for babies under six months. Babies get the vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months, but immunity isn’t fully conferred until after the third shot. According to the CDC, the United States is on track to have the most reported pertussis cases since 1959. More than 32,000 cases have been reported this year, including 16 deaths, most in infants. Read more on vaccines.
AAP Issues Guidelines to Help Prevent Cheerleading Injuries
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new policy statement to urge coaches, parents and school officials to follow injury-prevention guidelines, develop emergency plans and ensure cheerleading programs have access to the same level of qualified coaches, medical care and injury surveillance as other sports. “Cheerleading has become extremely competitive in the past few years, incorporating more complex skills than ever before,” says Cynthia LaBella, MD, a member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness and co-author of the new guidelines. “Relatively speaking, the injury rate is low compared to other sports” but “the number of catastrophic injuries continues to climb. That is an area of concern and needs attention for improving safety.” Read more on injury prevention.
NHTSA Warns Against Counterfeit Airbags
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an advisory to alert car owners and repair professionals to the dangers of counterfeit air bags. According to the agency, the counterfeit air bags look nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts—including the insignia and branding of major car manufacturers. However, NHTSA’s testing shows consistent malfunctions ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to metal parts that have exploded from the airbag when it is deployed. No deaths or injuries have been reported so far. NHTSA is advising consumers whose airbags were replaced after a crash by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership within the past three years, or who have purchased a replacement air bag online, to contact their car maker (full list of call centers) to have their vehicle inspected and the air bag replaced, if necessary. Read more on safety.