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Thursday , August 16 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Tag Archives: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Back in NM: What You Can Do

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Department of Health says a species of mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika virus has been identified in Doña Ana County. It’s the first time this season – and the second year in a row – that these specific species have been found in the southern part of the state.

Dr. Alfredo Vigil is a former secretary for the department. He says threats to public health funding and education in today’s growing anti-science political climate are the greatest hindrances to preventing Zika and other outbreaks, and it’s important for people to protect themselves.

“As much as possible, people should eliminate standing water,” he says. “Secondly, people should use insect repellent in those areas where this is a risk. There’ve been governmental efforts to spray high-risk areas to try to decrease mosquito proliferation.”

He says folks in southern New Mexico – especially mothers and women who are pregnant – would be wise to take precautions. Zika’s worst effects are to children and the unborn. It can be carried and transmitted by human adults without symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal health departments have done well at predicting where the disease-carrying insects will be, Vigil says. However, as a mechanism of evolution, it’s possible they can acclimate to more diverse environments such as southern New Mexico, where there is plenty of space for outdoor recreation in peak mosquito season.

“It’s not a surprise that more mosquitoes have been found, and frankly it won’t be a surprise when a few cases of actual human infection are detected,” he adds.

Vigil says mosquitoes that have caused the widest concern for spreading Zika have traditionally stayed closer to warmer and more humid climates, but he warns not to underestimate their pursuit of their primary food source, human blood.

Author: Brett McPherson, Public News Service (NM)

Tribes in Need of Different Anti-Smoking Programs

SANTA FE, N.M. – A new report shows big differences across the country in terms of who smokes cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found much higher rates among Native Americans, and tribal advocates say in order to work in this population, cessation efforts need to acknowledge the cultural history of tobacco.

Dr. Brian King, deputy director for research translation for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said the study found the smoking rate among Native Americans is the highest overall, at 39 percent. King said the data collected will help health officials when they’re designing anti-tobacco programs and campaigns.

“An example of that is, CDC’s ‘Tips from Former Smokers’ campaign, which is aired on television, where we warn people about the dangers of smoking,” he said. “And those can be targeted to specific populations, such as American Indians or Alaska Natives.”

Native American advocates say the study points to the need for an entirely different approach to smoking cessation for indigenous people, because tobacco has been part of their culture for centuries. More than 250,000 Native Americans live in Arizona, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Assistant professor LaDonna Blue Eyes at Indiana University has authored several reports on the health issues in Native American communities. She said traditional smoking-cessation efforts aren’t working, because they aren’t addressing tribal history and culture.

“If someone is smoking cigarette after cigarette, that’s abusing tobacco,” she said. “So, we’re really trying to teach our indigenous people that tobacco is sacred, and trying to re-teach this population part of our history. One of the taglines is, ‘Traditional use, not abuse.'”

She said to be successful, anti-smoking efforts shouldn’t label tobacco as evil.

“Traditional use also includes giving tobacco as a gift,” she added. “Tobacco might be placed on a fire; it’s not always ingested. I think the important thing is to remember that tobacco is sacred, and to really work with our population to get back to the real meaning of tobacco.”

She acknowledges that government-sponsored tobacco education programs are necessary, but said they need to be tweaked to include the culture and heritage of Native Americans.

The full report can be read here.

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