Outbreak control

The latest MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) from the CDC  has a summary of a meningitis outbreak in Oklahoma and how public health authorities responded: “Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease Associated with an Elementary School – Oklahoma, March 2010.”

MMWR reports have a consistent style that I think is helpful for this sort of notice: they’re short with tight editing and little superfluous information. They also often present harrying situations that are made more disturbing by the clinical detachment. In this case:

Five cases of meningococcal disease (including one probable case) were identified among four elementary school students and one high school student. Two students died; two recovered fully, and one survivor required amputation of all four limbs and facial reconstruction.

They also often include a helpful summary answering three questions: 1) What is already known on this topic? 2) What is added by this report? and 3) What are the implications for public health practice? I think some other publications (especially in the social sciences) would benefit from this helpful little formatting addition.

05

04 2012

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