Thursday, April 19, 2012

Child injury

More than 9,000 children lost their lives as the result of an unintentional injury in the United States in 2009, as this month’s edition of Vital Signs.

The injury death rate among children dropped nearly 30% over the last decade. However, injury is still the number one cause of death among children. Common causes of deaths from child injuries include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires and burns, and falls.

Though rates for most causes of child injuries have been declining, suffocation rates are on the rise, driven by a 54% increase in reported cases among infants less than one year old. Poisoning death rates also went up, largely due to a 91% increase in deaths among teens aged 15-19, mainly caused by prescription drug overdoses.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HIV/STD Updates

 The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released updated HIV treatment recommendations:

The updated recommendations have changed significantly regarding when to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART).  Antiretroviral treatment is now recommended for all HIV infected individuals.  The strength of these recommendations depends on an individual’s CD4 count, but if an individual is at risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative sexual partner(s) the strength of the recommendations increases. 

Several HIV/STD surveillance documents have recently been added to Maine CDC’s website:

US CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden will host a live Twitter chat on STDs and young people at 1 p.m. April 23. Follow the conversation by using hashtag #CDCChat. Follow Dr. Frieden on Twitter:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Influenza update

Maine CDC’s March 2011 investigation of influenza outbreaks at two correction facilities was published in the MMWR on April 6:

Maine CDC reported regional flu activity for the week ending April 14, with one new outbreak reported in a residential school or university. Weekly updates on flu activity are available online:

Maine CDC reminds everyone to take everyday preventive measures against the flu:
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or shoulder
  • Stay home when you feel sick
  • Get vaccinated

Monday, April 9, 2012


According to a study released in 2010 by Stanford University, less than a 10 percent reduction in sodium in a person’s diet could help many Americans avoid heart attacks and fatal strokes.

This April, Maine CDC’s Cardiovascular Health Program began a campaign to raise awareness of foods that are high in sodium and the importance of monitoring how much to reduce sodium consumption.

According to a study done by US CDC, the average American adult eats about 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day. That is at least 1,000 milligrams more than people should be eating. Most sodium is found in packaged, processed and restaurant foods.

The foods that are the biggest sources of sodium may be surprising. According to US CDC, bread and rolls are the top sources of sodium in the American diet, followed by cold cuts, pizza, poultry, and soups. 

More information on sodium and how to reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke is available at

Friday, April 6, 2012

Salmonella from baby chicks

Traditional springtime activities may include purchasing baby chicks. Baby chicks can be wonderful pets, but it is important to know that even healthy-looking chicks may be carrying dangerous germs called Salmonella.

Keep kids from getting sick by making sure they:
  • Do not put their hands in their mouths after touching chicks
  • Do not kiss chicks on their beak or feathers
  • Do not handle or clean cages or food containers
  • Do not eat or drink near baby chicks
  • Do not put their mouths on objects that have been near chicks or their cages

Children younger than five should not handle baby chicks, but if they do, be sure you:
  • Keep chicks out of the kitchen and other living areas
  • Wash children’s hands thoroughly with plenty of running water and soap after contact with chicks
  • Contact your health care provider or go to a clinic if your child has diarrhea or vomiting

For more information, visit 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Donate Life

April is National Donate Life Month. More than 100,000 US patients are currently waiting for an organ transplant. More than 4,000 new patients are added to the wait list each month.

Organ donation takes healthy organs and tissues from one person for transplantation into another. Experts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people. Organs you can donate include
  • Kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs
  • Skin
  • Bone and bone marrow
  • Cornea

Most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died. But some organs and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive.

Maine residents who are 16 years of age or older can help save lives by signing up on the Maine Organ Donor Registry. Registration is free and takes a few minutes a couple of minutes. You can sign up or check your registration at

Maine CDC Director Dr. Sheila Pinette will join other members of the Organ Donation Advisory Council appointed by Gov. Paul LePage and Secretary of State Charles E. Summers Jr. at a ceremony to raise awareness of organ donation at 2 p.m. today at the State House.

For more information about organ donation, visit

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

County Health Rankings

The third annual County Health Rankings were released April 3. Rankings were completed in all 50 states. Counties were ranked within states only, with no comparison between states. The report helps identify factors that influence health in each county.

All Maine counties, regardless of their ranking, have strengths to celebrate and challenges to address. For years, public health data have shown that many counties in Maine with lower incomes and educational attainment are less healthy. Such disparities continue to be reflected in these rankings. However, the report also shows significant variation. For instance, some counties with similar socioeconomic profiles have very different rankings for health factors and outcomes, suggesting that a complex array of factors influences the health of our communities.

Although some of our counties have better health outcomes than others, it is important to note that overall Maine is one of the healthiest states in the nation, ranking eighth healthiest state in 2010 and 2011 by the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings.

Maine’s public health system is charged with using a variety of data sources, including rankings such as these, to improve the health of all communities in Maine. Significant health improvement planning efforts are underway at the local, district, and state levels.