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E
Summer
2006
THE PREVALENCE OF EPILEPSY IN MICHIGAN:
PRELIMINARY RESULTS FROM THE 2005 MICHIGAN BEHAVIORAL RISK FACTOR SURVEY
By: Sarah Lyon-Callo,a Ann Rafferty,a Violanda Grigorescu,a Arlene Gorelick,b Russ Derryb
a
Division of Epidemiology Services, MDCH
b
Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan
E
pilepsy is a neurological
disorder marked by involuntary,
recurrent seizures that arise
from excessive discharges of neurons
in the brain. Epilepsy is not a single
disorder, but a group of disorders with
different etiologies, manifestations,
and prognoses. Seizures vary in
type, severity and intensity.1 Certain
populations are at higher risk for
developing epilepsy, including children
with mental retardation and /or cerebral
palsy, children with a parent who has
epilepsy, Alzheimer’s patients, and stroke
patients.2 According to the Epilepsy
Foundation, 70 percent of people
with epilepsy can be expected to enter
remission (five or more years seizure-free
on medication) and 75 percent of these
people can be successfully withdrawn
from medication.
Epilepsy, the most common disorder of
the nervous system, results in substantial
societal burden, including higher rates
of unemployment, personal isolation,
and stigma. There were over 2,100
hospitalizations for grand mal and other
epileptic conditions in Michigan in
2003.3 However, little is known about
the causes, prevalence, burden, and costs
of epilepsy in our state.
The Bureau of Epidemiology has
worked collaboratively with the Epilepsy
Foundation of Michigan to obtain
state-specific estimates for the prevalence
of epilepsy or seizure disorder. The
Epilepsy Foundation funded a module
of five questions in the 2005 Michigan
Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS),
a cross-sectional, statewide, randomdigit-dial telephone survey of adults.
Respondents (n = 11,798) were first
asked, “Have you ever been told by a
doctor that you have a seizure disorder
or epilepsy?” Those who responded
positively to this question were further
asked whether they were currently taking
medication, how many seizures they had
had in the past three months, whether
they had seen a neurologist in the past
year, and to what extent their epilepsy
or its treatment interfered with their
normal activities.
The lifetime prevalence of self-reported
epilepsy or seizure disorder was 1.8%
(Table). This prevalence did not
vary significantly by age, sex, or raceethnicity. However, the proportion who
had ever been told they had epilepsy
or a seizure disorder was higher among
those with lower levels of education
and household income, those who were
divorced, widowed, or separated, and
among those unable to work.
The follow-up questions on symptoms
and care were asked of the 219
respondents who reported that they had
ever been diagnosed with epilepsy or a
seizure disorder. Nearly half (46.5%)
were currently taking medicine to
control their epilepsy or seizure disorder.
The majority (63.7%) had not had any
seizures in the previous three months,
10.9% had one, 16.9% had more than
one seizure in the previous three months,
and 8.5% reported that they no longer
had epilepsy. Combining responses to
these questions, one percent of Michigan
adults were estimated to have active
epilepsy (defined as currently taking
medication to control epilepsy or have
had at least one seizure in the previous
continued on page 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Miller Named Director ...................................... 3
MI Influenza Surveillance Summary .................. 4
MDCH Regional Immunization Conf. ............... 5
Multi-State Mumps Outbreak ............................. 6
Detroit Receives National Award ....................... 7
Michigan BRFS Updates ..................................... 7
New Publication ................................................ 7
Recent Presentations ........................................... 8
MEHA Recognizes MDCH Employee ............... 8
New Employees .................................................. 9
Michigan Terrestrial Rabies Cases .................... 10
EIS Officer Wins CDC Mackel Award ............. 11
DCH-0709 (Rev. 8/02)
“Epilepsy in Michigan”
continued from page 1
Table: Lifetime Prevalence of Self-Reported Epilepsy* by Selected
Demographic Characteristics
Preliminary Estimates from the 2005 Michigan BRFS
Demographic Characteristic
% (95% confidence interval)
Total
1.8 (1.5-2.1)
Age (in years)
18-24
1.3 (0.6-2.8)
25-34
1.3 (0.7-2.1)
35-44
2.1 (1.5-2.9)
45-54
2.3 (1.8-3.1)
55-64
2.0 (1.4-2.7)
65-74
1.4 (0.9-2.3)
≥ 75
1.6 (1.0-2.5)
Sex
Male
1.6 (1.3-2.1)
Female
1.9 (1.6-2.4)
Race-ethnicity
White non-Hispanic
1.8 (1.5-2.1)
Black non-Hispanic
1.7 (1.0-2.8)
Other non-Hispanic
1.7 (0.9-3.2)
Hispanic
2.1 (0.8-5.6)
Education
< High school graduate
2.3 (1.4-3.7)
High school graduate
2.3 (1.7-2.9)
Some college
1.7 (1.3-2.3)
College graduate
1.3 (0.9-1.7)
Household income
<$20,000
4.0 (3.0-5.3)
$20,000-34,999
2.4 (1.7-3.4)
$35,000-49,999
1.3 (0.9-2.1)
$50,000-74,999
1.2 (0.7-1.9)
≥$75,000
0.9 (0.6-1.4)
Marital status
Married
1.6 (1.3-1.9)
Member of unmarried couple
0.4 (0.1-1.7)
Divorced, widowed, or separated
2.4 (1.8-3.2)
Never married
2.2 (1.5-3.2)
Employment status
Employed
1.4 (1.1-1.8)
Out of work
2.8 (1.5-5.4)
Homemaker, student, or retired
1.5 (1.1-1.9)
Unable to work
7.8 (5.8-10.4)
*
Response to the question, “Have you ever been told by a doctor that you
have a seizure disorder or epilepsy?” (n=11,798)
three months), and 0.8% were estimated
to have inactive epilepsy.
Among those with active epilepsy,
61.4% had seen a neurologist or epilepsy
specialist in the past year, while 38.6%
had not. The majority (58.0%) of
those with active epilepsy reported
that epilepsy or its treatment had not
interfered at all with their normal
activities during the previous month,
while 15.3% reported that epilepsy had
interfered slightly, 11.8% moderately,
8.4% quite a bit, and 6.6% reported that
epilepsy had interfered extremely with
their normal activities in the past month.
Michigan adults with epilepsy, especially
active epilepsy, tended to have poorer
general health status, more days of
poor physical health in the previous
month, activity limitations, and less life
satisfaction, as illustrated in the figure.
For example, nearly half (49.7%) of
those with active epilepsy and onequarter (25.1%) of those with inactive
epilepsy described their general health as
fair or poor, while 14.7% of those never
diagnosed with epilepsy thought their
health was fair or poor.
These data, although broadly
representative of the Michigan adult
population, do have limitations.
These prevalence figures are estimates
calculated from survey respondents’
answers and may overestimate or
underestimate the true prevalence. For
instance, to be a survey respondent, a
person must live in a private residence
with a telephone and be able to talk on
the phone. It is conceivable that people
with active epilepsy may be less likely to
answer the phone and that older people
with epilepsy, particularly those with
Alzheimer’s or past stroke, may be more
likely to be living in an assisted living
facility or other institutional setting and
therefore be missed by the household
phone survey methodology. In addition,
persons with epilepsy who do participate
in the survey may be hesitant to report
their condition due to the stigma often
associated with this disease. On the
other hand, the lifetime prevalence of
continued on page 3
Page 2
Miller Takes Helm of Bureau of Epidemiology
Miller is originally from Minnesota,
earning her Doctor of Dental Surgery
and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the
University of Minnesota. She began
her public health career as an Epidemic
Intelligence Officer in New York. Later, she
worked as the Deputy State Epidemiologist
at the Kansas Department of Health
and Environment, where she provided
epidemiologic support for 105 local
health departments. Though many of her
responsibilities involved communicable
disease, she also focused some of her time
in chronic disease areas.
As the Michigan State Epidemiologist,
Miller sees her position moving toward
a broader scope, from being traditionally
centered on communicable disease
to encompassing all areas within the
Department. Similarly, her role as
Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology
branches beyond typical epidemiology
into many diverse scientific disciplines,
such as toxicology, environmental and
occupational epidemiology, genetics, lead
remediation, and vital records. “We have
such a broad collection of scientists,” she
says, and she considers this wide array
of disciplines one of the strengths of the
Bureau.
Miller reports some of the Bureau’s top
priorities are ensuring good connection
and communication with partners, such
as local health departments; identifying
opportunities for staff to participate and
play a role in other organizations; and
building professional and leadership
skills of staff. Additionally, she stresses
the importance of assuring that MDCH
recognizes, understands, and appreciates
the Bureau’s role in the Department and is
willing and able to tap into its expertise to
respond to events.
Over the past few years, Miller has seen
the Bureau expand significantly, presenting
diverse opportunities, but also challenging
the Bureau to maintain a cohesive structure
with strategic objectives. “We have
incredibly talented staff,” she points out,
“who are receiving national attention.”
She provides examples, such as the
Asthma Death Review, the Vital Records
linkages and collaborative projects with
multiple programs, the development of
the Michigan Disease Surveillance System
(MDSS), the numerous partnerships made
by the Genomics Unit, the recent Healthy
Homes initiative through the Division
of Environmental and Occupational
Epidemiology, and the Michigan
Care Improvement Registry (MCIR)
significantly improving vaccination
tracking within the state.
Because of these and other
accomplishments, Miller views a priority
of the Bureau is to market itself to public
health professionals, and to develop and
maintain funding streams to continue to
attract highly dedicated staff. Ensuring
and sustaining the diverse and excellent
staff within the Bureau is crucial to its
future success. And she does not hesitate
to convey her sincere appreciation to
everyone’s support, and adds, “I think
every day how wonderful it is to have such
incredibly talented staff” – a sentiment her
staff also expresses about her.
“Epilepsy in Michigan”
continued from page 2
Health Characteristics by Epilepsy Status
2005 Michigan BRFS (preliminary estimates)
70
60
50
40
%
I
n May of this year, Corinne Miller,
Ph.D., D.D.S., officially became
the Director of the Bureau of
Epidemiology and State Epidemiologist for
the Michigan Department of Community
Health (MDCH). Miller has been with
MDCH for over five-and-a-half years,
previously as Manager of the Chronic
Disease Epidemiology Section, and as the
Director of the Division of Epidemiology
Services. Most recently, she was the Acting
Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology.
30
20
10
0
General Health Fair-Poor
14+ Days Poor Physical
Health
Active Epilepsy
epilepsy may be over reported due to
misdiagnosis of seizures associated with
childhood fevers or alcohol use. Lastly,
these data can tell us nothing about the
prevalence of epilepsy among children.
The prevalence of lifetime and active
epilepsy in Michigan is similar to that
found by other states in past years (Texas
1998, Georgia and Tennessee 2002,
South Carolina 2003-2004). Although
the prevalence of epilepsy is not as high
as some other chronic diseases, such as
asthma or diabetes, the considerable
impact on quality of life and activity
Limited in Any Way
Inactive Epilepsy
Dissatisfied with Life
Never Diagnosed
levels indicates a need for public health
strategies to support individuals affected
by this condition.
References
1
CDC. Living Well With Epilepsy II:
Report of the 2003 National Conference on
Public Health and Epilepsy. Accessed at
http://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/
2
Epilepsy Foundation. Accessed at http://
www.epilepsyfoundation.org/
3
Michigan Inpatient Database. Accessed at
http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/chi/
hosp/frame.htmlepilepsy.epilepsy
Page 3
Michigan Influenza Surveillance Summary, 2005-2006 Influenza Season
Michigan Department of Community Health
By: Susan Vagasky, DVM
Seasonal Influenza
and respiratory visits peaked in mid- to
late February at roughly 15% and 16%
of all visits, respectively. Compared to
the previous year, emergency department
visits due to constitutional and respiratory
complaints indicated flu activity peaked
slightly later, was slightly longer in length,
and was lower during the current season.
Over-the-counter product sales were more
variable over the course of the year, but
were consistent with the other indicators,
suggesting that peak activity in flu-like
illness activity in February 2006 was
significantly lower than that seen in the
previous year.
Michigan Disease Surveillance System
(MDSS) was seen between the week
ending February 4 and the week ending
April 1. The top three weeks for the
season were the weeks ending April 1
(18,139 reports), February 18 (17,607
reports), and February 4 (16,214 reports).
During the 2004-2005 influenza season,
peak flu-like illness activity was seen
between the week ending January 29 and
the week ending March 12, while the top
three weeks of flu-like illness activity were
the weeks ending February 12 (36,127
reports), February 19 (32,780 reports),
and February 5 (26,963). Based on
MDSS information, the current influenza
season appears to have been slightly longer,
temporally similar, and much less severe
than the previous one.
D
ata from Michigan’s Influenza
Sentinel Physician Surveillance
sites indicate that increases in
the proportion of visits due to influenzalike illness (fever ≥100º F with a cough,
sore throat, or both) began in early
February, peaked in early to mid-March
at 2.3% of office visits, and returned to
low levels by late April. In comparison,
activity during the 2004-2005 season
occurred earlier, peaking in midFebruary.
There was one pediatric influenza-related
mortality for the 2005-2006 season with
one possible investigation pending. Two
congregate setting outbreaks were reported
this season; one in Southwest Michigan
in late February and one in Southeast
Michigan in late March. Both outbreaks
were confirmed by the Michigan
Department of Community Health
(MDCH) laboratory as due to influenza A
(H3N2).
Sentinel physicians and sentinel
laboratories provide virologic data by
submitting clinical specimens and/or
isolates for respiratory virus culture at the
MDCH laboratory. During the 20052006 season, the MDCH laboratory
confirmed 138 influenza cases. Of
these, 132 (96%) were due to Influenza
A (H3N2) and 6 (4%) to Influenza
B. Eleven influenza A (H3N2) isolates
were sent to the Centers for Disease
continued on page 5
Emergency department visits due to
constitutional complaints peaked in late
February at roughly 10% of all visits.
Visits due to respiratory complaints
peaked twice – in late October at less
than 14% of all visits and again in late
February at over 14% of all visits. During
the 2004-2005 season, constitutional
During the 2005-2006 influenza season,
peak activity for flu-like illness in the
Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Surveillance Data and Respiratory Virus Culture Results
Michigan Influenza Sentinel Providers, 2005-2006
20
M DC H L ab -C on fi rm ed C ase s
A d e n o v ir u s
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W e e k E n di n g o n T h is D a t e
Page 4
6
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“Michigan Influenza Surveillance Summary”
continued from page 4
Control and Prevention (CDC) for
strain typing. Of these isolates, one
was closely related to the vaccine strain,
A/New York/55/2004 (used for the
A/California/7/2004 H3N2 strain), two
were A/California/7/2004-like, and eight
were related to A/Wisconsin/67/2005,
an antigenic variant of A/California.
The influenza B viruses isolated at the
MDCH laboratory belonged to two
antigenically distinct lineages; two were
B/Shanghai/361/2002-like, belonging to
the B/Yamagata lineage. Four belonged
to the B/Victoria lineage; of these, three
were B/Hong Kong/330/2001-like, and
one sample sent was determined to be
B/Ohio/01/2005-like. The B component
of the 2005-2006 influenza vaccine was
B/Shanghai. These results suggest that a
variety of influenza viruses were circulating
in Michigan during the 2005-2006
season, with varying vaccine-relatedness.
The 2006-2007 influenza vaccine
will contain the A/Wisconsin strain
as its H3 component and the A/New
Caledonia/20/99-like strain for the
H1N1 component. The influenza B
portion will be updated to B/Ohio (used
for B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like virus),
representing a change to the B/Victoria
lineage.
Data from the CDC indicate that the
United States as a whole had similar
experiences to Michigan in the 2005-2006
season. Visits due to influenza-like illness
peaked twice nationally. The first peak of
3.3% occurred at the end of December
and a later peak occurred in early to
mid-March at 3.2%. Influenza A and B
co-circulated with A types predominating
(81%). Of the 503 influenza A
(H3N2) isolates that were antigenically
characterized by the CDC, 76% were
characterized as A/California/07/2004like, the H3N2 component recommended
for the 2005-2006 influenza vaccine.
Fourteen percent were A/Wisconsin-like,
which will be in the 2006-2007 influenza
vaccine. Nationally, 35 pediatric deaths
related to influenza were reported from
13 states. Virus type was known for 31 of
these cases; 23 were influenza A infection
and eight were influenza B. National
pneumonia and influenza mortality data
from the CDC indicate that this season
was of mild severity.
Novel and Avian Influenza Strains
2005-2006 also saw a dramatic increase
in the number of countries affected by
the ongoing epizootic epidemic of highly
pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI),
subtype H5N1. In late 2005, the virus
spread in wild birds and poultry from
Southeast Asia to Mongolia, Russia
and Eastern Europe. By mid-2006, the
Middle East, Africa and Western Europe
were also affected. From 2003 to June
26, 2006, there were 228 human cases,
including 130 deaths, in 10 countries
spanning Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
As of this writing, 34 of 84 (40%) cases
and 28 of 54 (52%) deaths reported
in 2006 have been from Indonesia,
including a family cluster that was of
interest. The eight cases from that cluster
were all related family members, seven
of which appear to have contracted the
virus from close, prolonged contact with
the index family member. The eighth
case was a father who had no contact
with the index case and was determined
to have caught the virus from his son,
who did have prolonged contact with the
index case. This situation was the first
documented case of a second-generation
human transmission. There was evidence
of mutation in the virus recovered from
the son, but this mutation did not appear
to convey increased transmissibility and
died out with the father. Characterization
of the mutation showed no resistance to
the antiviral drug oseltamavir, and other
family members and healthcare workers
with extensive contact have not contracted
the disease. Thus, there is no current
evidence of the H5N1 virus having
efficient human-to-human transmission,
but concern still exists for the potential of
a pandemic influenza virus.
To access more information about influenza,
go to the MDCH influenza homepage
at http://www.michigan.gov/influenza.
Between October and May, the most current
U.S. influenza data is available from the
CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
fluactivity.htm.
Registration is
Underway for the
MDCH Regional
Immunization
Conferences
The Michigan Department
of Community Health
(MDCH) Division
of Immunization will
offer seven regional
immunization conferences
in October and November.
The one-day fall
conferences have attracted
a large number of health
care professionals who
attend to learn about
practice-management tools,
techniques and information
that will help ensure that
patients throughout the
state are fully immunized.
Registration for the
conferences began July 1.
This year, we have initiated
an Internet registration
process with immediate
confirmation and payment
mailing instructions.
For more information
and to register, go to
the conference website
at http://register2006.
mihealth.org. Half of the
conference locations are
expected to fill up in early
August. Because of this,
early registration is strongly
encouraged.
Page 5
Multi-State Mumps Outbreak
By: Joel Blostein, MPH
A
large outbreak of mumps has
occurred in several midwest
states, including Michigan, since
late winter 2006. As of the end of June,
over 4800 cases have been reported
throughout 14 states, compared to fewer
than 300 mumps cases reported each
year nationwide during the 2001-2003
period. Iowa first detected the outbreak
of mumps in several college campuses in
the early weeks of 2006.
vaccinated persons. Effectiveness of one
dose of mumps vaccine is estimated to
be 70 – 80%. Data from the current
outbreak and previous outbreak-related
studies suggest a two-dose schedule
improves effectiveness to an estimated
90%. According to CDC investigators,
high levels of immunization coverage
in the general population have kept this
outbreak from becoming considerably
larger.
Multiple factors may be contributing to
this outbreak and its spread, including
close contact in college and dormitory
settings, insufficient immunization
coverage among college-age individuals
and other adults, and delayed recognition
and reporting of cases.
In Michigan, at the end of July, there had
been 67 confirmed, probable, or suspect
cases reported. Cases have been reported
across all age groups, however, those 1-19
years make up nearly half of the cases.
Cases range in age from 2 to 63 years,
with a median age of 20 years. Twentyfour counties have reported cases. (see
graph)
The source of the outbreak is unknown
but it may be connected to large
outbreaks that have been occurring in
the United Kingdom and Ireland since
2004. Molecular epidemiological studies
of viruses isolated in the US outbreak
indicate the epidemic strain is the same
one seen in the UK.
A large proportion of the reported cases
have a history of immunization against
mumps. Since mumps vaccine is not
absolutely protective and because most
individuals are routinely vaccinated
against mumps, it is expected that most
cases occurring in the US will be among
Concerns about an increase in mumps
activity in Michigan actually arose in
2005, when 24 cases were reported,
compared to fewer than 10 in recent
prior years. But despite that increase,
there were no obvious outbreaks detected,
suggesting “silent” transmission of
mumps virus may have been taking place
involving sub-clinical or unrecognized
cases.
Problems in interpreting mumps tests
have complicated the epidemiologic
analysis of the outbreak, both in
Michigan and elsewhere. Typically,
mumps IgM serology tests are used to
confirm a case, but these have been found
to be difficult to interpret in persons
previously vaccinated. The IgM response
in such persons may be delayed, quite
transient, or missing. Other testing
methodologies, such as polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) or viral culture, may be
helpful but can lack sensitivity. These
problems have made making a definitive
lab confirmation difficult.
In response to this outbreak, guidelines
of the Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices (ACIP) have been
revised to specifically recommend two
doses of mumps-containing vaccine as
appropriate documentation for immunity.
It is important for Michigan health care
providers and public health workers to
be knowledgeable about mumps and
watchful for cases, and to report them
to the public health system. Additional
mumps information and resources are
available on the Michigan Department
of Community Health Immunization
website at www.michigan.gov/immunize
and the website of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Immunization and
Respiratory Diseases (formerly National
Immunization Program) at http://www.
cdc.gov/nip/diseases/mumps/default.htm.
Reported Mumps by Age Group
Michigan 2006, Year to Date
Counts
20
15
10
5
0
1-9
10-19
20-29
30-39
Years
Page 6
40-49
50-59
60+
Detroit Receives National Award at CDC National
Immunization Conference
T
hanks to a tremendous amount
of hard work and perseverance
at the community, local,
and state levels, Detroit was recently
recognized for making substantial strides
in its immunization levels. Immunization
partners at the local and community
levels include the Detroit Department
of Health and Wellness Promotion
(DHWP) and surrounding local health
departments in southeast Michigan,
Detroit-area health systems, the Alliance
for Immunization in Michigan coalition,
and private providers.
The 40th Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) National
Immunization Conference was held
in Atlanta in early March. At the
conference, Detroit was presented an
award for being one of seven urban
areas throughout the nation showing
the most improvement in immunization
rates. From 2001 to 2004, Detroit’s
immunization rates increased by 14.6
percent.
Detroit is continuing to increase its
immunization coverage levels by about
one percent per month. Immunization
rates increased from 35 percent to 46
percent in the past year alone.* The fact
that the Michigan Care Improvement
Registry ([MCIR] formerly known as
the Michigan Childhood Immunization
Registry) is now being used more
effectively than in the past plays a
substantial role in this turnaround.
The increases can be attributed to a
number of other reasons as well. The
Immunization Program at the Detroit
DHWP has developed a team approach
to provider quality assurance with
providers. In addition, there is strong
support, at every level, for protecting the
city’s children from vaccine-preventable
diseases.
“When I worked in Detroit, we always
felt that our immunization rates were
higher, we just couldn’t demonstrate it
with data. Through partnerships and the
use of the immunization registry, we are
now able to measure our
progress,” said Patricia
Vranesich, R.N., B.S.N.,
Outreach and Education
Section Manager, Division
of Immunization,
Michigan Department
of Community
Health (MDCH). Pat
served as the MDCH
Immunization Field
Representative in
southeast Michigan from
1998 through 2004.
Representatives from Michigan proudly accept the award
on behalf of the City of Detroit’s health care providers.
Pictured from left to right are: Patricia Vranesich, R.N.,
B.S.N., Outreach and Education Section Manager,
Division of Immunization, Michigan Department of
Community Health; Dawn Lukomski, M.A., Immunization
Program Director, Detroit Department of Health and
Wellness Promotion; and Kenneth Onyewurunwa, Lead
Provider Services Representative, Detroit Department of
Health and Wellness Promotion. Anne Schuchat, M.D.,
Director of the CDC National Immunization Program
(pictured on the far right), presented the award.
Detroit has also surpassed
both the statewide and the
national average for giving
infants the birth dose of
hepatitis B vaccine. Based
on the CDC National
Immunization Survey
results of 2003-2004,
Detroit has achieved a rate
of 83.4 percent, compared
to Michigan’s rate of 70.6
percent and the national
rate of 46 percent for the
same time frame.
Education, communication, and
collaboration have been key to keeping
Detroit’s children safe from vaccinepreventable diseases.
* These immunization rates reflect the 19-35 monthold patient population as recorded in MCIR for the
following doses of vaccines: 4 DTaP, 3 polio, 1 MMR,
3 Hib, 3 hep B and 1 varicella.
Michigan BRFS
Updates
P
reliminary results from the 2005
Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor
Survey (BRFS) are now available
at www.michigan.gov/brfs. These results
include the standard set of Michigan
BRFS annual tables with estimates by
demographic characteristics, two sets
of tables with expanded race-specific
estimates, and tables with regional and
local health department estimates. In
2005, we had the opportunity to expand
the sample size of the Michigan BRFS to
approximately 12,000. This has allowed
us to calculate more precise estimates
and to calculate annual estimates for
more subgroups in Michigan than has
been possible in previous years.
Michelle Cook, our former Michigan
BRFSS Coordinator, has accepted a
new position working with the BRFSS
in Texas. We were very sorry to see
Michelle move on but are delighted for
her new opportunity.
If you have any questions about these
2005 Michigan BRFS estimates,
please contact Ann Rafferty at
[email protected]
New Publication
Janice S. Lee, PhD, MSH; Sharon L.
Lee, PhD; Scott A. Damon, MAIA,
CPH; Robert Geller, MD; Erik R.
Janus, MS; Chris Ottoson, CIH;
and Marilyn J. Scott, CSP, ARM.
Risk Communication Needs in a
Chemical Event. Journal of Emergency
Management. 2006;4(2).
Page 7
Recent Presentations
Joel Blostein, MPH, gave an
Immunization/VPD Update
presentation at the MSIC (Michigan
Society for Infection Control) in April.
Deb Duquette presented a talk “What
is Pharmacogenomics? Personalization
of Medications for You!” at the Michigan
Medical Assistants Conference in
Lansing, MI, on May 6, 2006.
Deb Duquette presented a talk “Striving
for a Healthier You: Genetic Counselors
as Health Promoters” at the National
Society of Genetic Counselors Region IV
Conference in Ann Arbor, MI, on April
8, 2006.
Deb Duquette presented a lecture
“Public Health Genomics” at Wayne
State University School of Medicine,
Genetics Course, on May 12, 2006.
Erik Janus presented “The Use of
Chemicals as Weapons: Myths and
Realities” for the Epi brown bag lecture
series on June 14, 2006.
TaTisha N. McCainey, MPH, Glenn
Copeland, MBA, Laurie DeDecker,
RN, Ann Annis Emeott, MPH, and
Won Silva, MA, presented a poster
“Incorporating Genomics Into Existing
State Level Cancer Surveillance System”
at the 2006 Michigan Breast and
Cervical Cancer Control Program/
WISEWOMAN Program Annual
Meeting in Acme, MI, on May 1819, and at the North American
Association of Central Cancer Registries
2006 Annual Meeting in Regina,
Saskatchewan, on June 13-15.
Dawn Sievert presented “CommunityAssociated MRSA: How to Stay Ahead
of this Familiar Pathogen” for the
Michigan Society for Infection Control
2006 Spring Conference in April 2006.
Dawn Sievert presented “Staph and
Spinnerets: Any Connection?” for the
2006 Michigan Communicable Disease
Conference in May 2006.
The following Bureau of Epidemiology
employee presented at the National STD
Prevention Conference in Jacksonville,
FL, on May 8-11.
Page 8
Mark Stenger, Jeff Stover, Michael
Samuel, Katie Macomber, Lori
Newman, Todd Gerber, Charlotte
Kent, Wendy Wise, and Gail Bolan
presented “Enhancing Gonorhea
Surveillance to Guide Program and
Policy.”
Cassandre Larrieux, MPH,
Kobra Eghtedary, PhD, Violanda
Grigorescu, MD, MSPH, and
Alethia Carr, RD, MBA, presented a
poster “Effect of WIC Participantion
on VLBW Infants Among Medicaid
Participants in Michigan.”
Katie Macomber presented “Lessons
Learned: Implications of a Web-Based
Morbidity Reporting System for
STDs.”
Cassandre Larrieux, MPH,
Violanda Grigorescu, MD, MSPH,
Kobra Eghtedary, PhD, and Alethia
Carr, RD, MBA, presented a poster
“Post-Neonatal Infant Mortality
Among Medicaid WIC and NonWIC Participants in Michigan.”
The following Bureau of Epidemiology
employees presented at the CSTE 2006
Annual Conference on June 4-7 in
Anaheim, CA.
James Collins presented a talk on
“PHIN Initiative.”
Melinda Wilkins and Eden Wells
presented talks on “Pandemic
Influenza.”
The following Bureau of Epidemiology
employees presented at the 2006
Michigan Healthy Mothers, Healthy
Babies Coalition 21st Annual
Conference in Mt. Pleasant on
June 8-9. This symposium featured
presentations on topics related to birth
defects prevention and monitoring,
including the importance of folic acid
in preventing birth defects, the effects
of maternal phenylketonuria and other
metabolic disorders, environmental
exposure to pesticides, the management
of insulin dependant diabetes mellitus,
and fetal alcohol exposure.
Joan Erhardt, MS, presented
a concurrent workshop “Folic
Acid Outreach & Multivitamin
Distribution in Selected Michigan
Counties at High Risk for Neural
Tube Defects.”
Joan Ehrhardt, MS, and Carol
Wilson, RN, MSN, presented a
plenary session “State of the State:
Michigan’s Folic Acid Campaign and
the Continuing Need for Knowledge
and Awareness.” (Birth Defects
Prevention & Monitoring Initiatives
PreConference June 7, 2006)
Won Silva, MA, presented a
concurrent session “Profile of Birth
Defects Among Children of Alcohol
Users in Substance Abuse Treatment
Programs in the Detroit and Wayne
County Area.”
Jane Simmermon, RN, MPH,
presented a concurrent workshop
“Promoting Preconceptional Health:
An Essential Birth Defects Prevention
Strategy.”
Michigan Environmental
Health Association
Recognizes MDCH
Employee Erik Janus
I
n February, Erik Janus, a
Toxicologist with the Division of
Environmental and Occupational
Epidemiology at the Michigan
Department of Community Health,
received the Michigan Environmental
Health Association (MEHA) 2006
Distinguished Service Award – NonMember. This special recognition
award honors individuals who have
made significant contributions to
environmental health. Janus has worked
tirelessly with local public health
departments, and has undertaken
considerable efforts in chemical
terrorism, emergency preparedness,
and methamphetamine lab issues.
Congratulations, Erik Janus!
New Employees
Terri Adams, RN, BSN, accepted the
position of Vaccines for Children (VFC)
Coordinator for the MDCH Division
of Immunization in April. Adams brings
a wealth of public health experience.
Having worked in the immunization
programs at Washtenaw, Barry-Eaton
and Kent counties, she will offer a unique
local health perspective to her daily VFC
program coordination activities. Adams
will work closely with the MDCH
Immunization field representatives and
local health department immunization
coordinators throughout the state to assure
VFC vaccine is available and administered
properly. Please contact her by phone (517)
335-9646 or email [email protected]
with questions about the VFC program.
James Averill, DVM, was hired as the
Deputy Pandemic Influenza Coordinator
for the Michigan Department of
Community Health. In this capacity,
he will coordinate pandemic influenza
planning and response activities within
MDCH, as well as with other state
agencies. Additionally, he will assist Dr.
Eden Wells in all manner of work related
to Pandemic Influenza within MDCH.
Averill received his veterinary medical
degree from Michigan State University
(MSU) in 2001, after which he worked
as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the
USDA-Veterinary Services in Michigan.
In 2002 Averill returned to MSU to obtain
a PhD in Epidemiology and will complete
the degree in 2006.
Connie S. Bessette was hired in October
as the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Clerk
for the Division of Immunization. In her
new position, she is responsible for data
entry and maintenance of the required
paperwork for enrollment with the VFC
Program. In addition, Bessette manages
data entry for the VFC Site Visits, monthly
Biological Inventory Reports and Doses
Administered Reports (both public and
private). She will be getting married on
September 16, 2006, after which her new
name will be Connie S. Garn.
Steve Cali is an Intern in the Division
of Communicable Disease and has
recently completed his second year at
the University of Michigan School of
Public Health Masters degree program in
epidemiology. He is finishing up his thesis
project in community-associated MRSA
under the supervision of Dawn Sievert
and will graduate at the end of summer.
This summer Cali will work on multiple
projects with both MDCH and Michigan
State University.
Peter Davidson, PhD, was recently
hired as the TB Program Coordinator
at MDCH. His responsibilities include
planning, development, implementation
and evaluation of statewide tuberculosis
control and prevention activities. In this
position, he works closely with local health
departments in the development of TB
program guidelines and policies, collection
and analysis of TB surveillance data, and
development of contractual agreements
for prevention and intervention activities.
Additionally, Davidson is responsible for
the preparation of various written reports
and presentations to a variety of audiences
and coordination of TB control activities
with the American Lung Association of
Michigan.
Brian Davis is an Intern in the Division
of Communicable Disease. He has been
working on different projects, mainly
focusing on foodborne illness. Davis is also
gaining an overview of operative functions
within the division, and will continue his
work through the summer. He is a student
at the University of Michigan School of
Public Health.
Allison Eavey was recently hired as an
Intern in the Division of Communicable
Disease at MDCH. In this position,
she will be working on a rabies postexposure prophylaxis study. Originally
from Hastings, MI, Eavey is a second
year veterinary student at Michigan
State University, and is also concurrently
working on her Master of Public Health
from the University of Minnesota.
Ed Hartwick is the new GIS Specialist
in the MDCH Surveillance Section. This
life-long Michigan resident hails originally
from Cass City in Michigan’s thumb area.
He graduated with a Bachelors Degree
in Geography from Central Michigan
University in 2004 and recently completed
his Masters in Geographic Information
Science at Michigan State University.
Most of the duties in his new position
will consist of mapping and conducting
spatial and statistical analyses of disease
information.
Carol Romback, RN, BSN, accepted
the position of Field Representative for
the Upper Peninsula for the Division of
Immunization in December. Previously,
Romback worked for 23 years as a school
nurse for the Negaunee Public Schools.
In addition, she has worked as a hospital
nurse, and taught nursing for two years at
St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Marquette.
Romback graduated from the University
of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in
Nursing.
Curtis Smith was recently hired as a
Student Assistant in the Vital Records
Customer Services Unit, Bureau of
Epidemiology, Vital Records and Health
Statistics.
Susan Vagasky, DVM, was hired in
May 2006 as an Influenza Surveillance
Epidemiologist within the Infectious
Disease Epidemiology Section, in the
Division of Communicable Disease. Her
responsibilities include triaging initial
inquiries regarding possible influenza cases,
actively reviewing MDSS for influenza
cases, and creating and maintaining
a database that contains information
on influenza cases, hospitalizations,
deaths, hospitals involved, and patients
quarantined and/or isolated. Additional
duties include providing ongoing
consultation on influenza to Michigan
local health departments and generating
and distributing the weekly MI FluFocus
Surveillance Report. Vagasky is originally
from Otsego, MI. She graduated from
Michigan State University (MSU) with a
Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the
Honors College in 2002 and a Doctorate
in Veterinary Medicine in 2006. While in
veterinary school, she was president of the
MSU Chapter of Omega Tau Sigma, a
professional veterinary fraternity. In the
fall Vagasky will begin pursuing a Master
of Public Health degree through the
University of Minnesota on a part-time
basis.
Page 9
Michigan Experiencing Surge in Terrestrial Rabies Cases
By: Kimberly Signs, DVM
T
he Michigan Department of
Community Health (MDCH)
Bureau of Laboratories has
detected a total of 23 cases of rabies
out of 986 animals tested through June
26, 2006. These include eighteen bats,
four horses, and one skunk. Over the
same time period in 2005, nine positive
animals had been detected out of 965
submissions. Typically, July and August
are the busiest months in the MDCH
laboratory for rabies testing. This year
is unusual not only in the number of
positive animals detected in the first half
of the year, but also in the fact that four
horses have been found to be positive
for rabies, the most in a single year since
1999 when there were three.
Both 2005 and 2006 animal rabies
statistics reflect higher case numbers
due to the skunk-strain of rabies. While
bat rabies is detected sporadically
throughout the state, the skunk-strain
of rabies has, in recent years, only been
detected in southeast Michigan and the
“thumb” counties. In 2005, a total of
thirteen animals, including seven skunks,
four cats, a sheep and fox, were infected
with this strain of rabies. For 2006 to
date, four horses and one skunk have
been infected with this strain. Diseases
in wildlife often experience natural cycles
of high and low incidence, and rabies
is no exception. Rabies of terrestrial
animals such as skunks are more likely
to spill over into other unvaccinated
domestic animals such as cats and horses
as they are more likely to encounter a
skunk in their natural environment,
especially a sick skunk. Bat rabies rarely
spills over into other species.
For most domestic species of animals
including dogs, cats, ferrets, horses,
cattle, and sheep, there are licensed
rabies biologics available. Only dogs
Page 10
and ferrets are required by law to have
rabies vaccinations in Michigan, but
other species whose daily activities
could expose them to potential rabiesinfected animals should be vaccinated.
For up-to-date information on rabies
surveillance data please visit the
Emerging Diseases website at www.
michigan.gov/emergingdiseases. Click
on the “Rabies” topic.
Michigan EIS Officer Wins CDC Mackel Award
M
ark Gershman, MD, the
Epidemic Intelligence
Service (EIS) officer
currently assigned to the Division
of Communicable Disease at the
Michigan Department of Community
Health (MDCH), presented the
findings of his investigation, “Delayed
Onset Pseudomonas fluorescens
Group Bloodstream Infections After
Exposure to Contaminated Heparin
Flush — Michigan and South Dakota,
2005-2006” on April 27 at the 55th
Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service
Conference in Atlanta. He won the
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) Mackel Award for
his presentation. This award recognizes
the presentation that best exemplifies
the effective application of a combined
epidemiological and laboratory approach
to an investigation. His main coinvestigator was Curi Kim, MD, MPH,
who did a rotation at MDCH in the
Division of Communicable Diseases
recently, as part of her Preventive
Medicine Residency at University of
Michigan School of Public Health.
Other collaborators included a medical
epidemiologist and several laboratorians
in the Division of Healthcare Quality
and Promotion, CDC, as well as a nurse
and an epidemiologist in South Dakota.
The current investigation built upon
a prior CDC and Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) investigation
in March 2005 of an outbreak of
Pseudomonas fluorescens bloodstream
infections (BSIs) among patients
from multiple states. These patients
developed BSIs after being exposed to a
contaminated, commercially prepared
heparin intravenous flush solution,
which was used to flush their central
venous catheters as a routine measure to
prevent clotting. Some of these patients
required hospitalization; most were
treated with antibiotics and many had
their central venous catheters removed.
As a result of this investigation, the
manufacturer recalled the heparin flush
product in early February 2005.
Dr. Gershman’s investigation concerned
28 patients at two clinics in Michigan
and South Dakota, who were previously
exposed to the contaminated heparin
flush prior to product recall, but whose
BSIs weren’t diagnosed until months
later. The mean time from their last
potential exposure to the contaminated
heparin flush until BSI diagnosis was
237 days (range: 84–421 days). All
patients were adult cancer outpatients
with implantable venous ports (a type of
indwelling central venous catheter). After
product recall, they all later experienced
symptoms of BSI within several hours
of maintenance port flushing; most
were treated with antibiotics and all
had their ports surgically removed. No
deaths were reported. P. fluorescens was
recovered from either blood or catheter
cultures in all 28 patients. Pulsedfield gel electrophoresis performed on
available specimens demonstrated that
they all had genetically indistinguishable
patterns, both to each other as well
as to the patterns of specimens from
the prior March 2005 investigation.
These findings linked the delayed P.
fluorescens BSIs to prior exposure to
the recalled contaminated heparin flush.
Electron microscopy performed at CDC
on explanted catheters demonstrated
biofilms with adherent bacterial rods
lining the catheter lumens.
A number of hypotheses were posited
to explain the delayed presentation and
diagnosis of P. fluorescens BSI in these
patients. The most significant factor was
P. fluorescens colonization of catheter
lumens, facilitated by biofilms. Episodic
catheter flushing may have physically
disrupted colonized biofilms causing
symptomatic, intermittent bacteremia.
Also, patients receiving chemotherapy
initially attributed BSI symptoms to
chemotherapy side effects, which may be
similar, and delayed reporting them. This
investigation gives the first description,
to the authors’ knowledge, of
significantly delayed BSIs after exposure
to a contaminated intravenous solution.
Furthermore, the authors emphasize
that providers need to conduct ongoing
surveillance and maintain a high index
of suspicion for BSI with indwelling
catheter patients previously exposed to
contaminated injectables, even months
after product recall.
EPI INSIGHT is published quarterly by the Michigan Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, to provide information to the public health
community. If you would like to be added or deleted from the EPI Insight mailing list, please call 517-335-8165.
Bureau of Epidemiology
Administrator
Corinne Miller, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Newsletter Committee
Ann Annis Emeott (Editor) • Kathryn Macomber (Editorial Review)
Rosemary Franklin • Jay Fiedler • Sarah Lyon-Callo • Carla Marten • Bridget Kavanagh-Patrick
MDCH is an Equal Opportunity Employer, Services & Programs Provider.
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