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Ebola crisis prompts strictest travel warning
CDC on Thursday, July 31, issued a warning to avoid all nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Level 3 travel warning, which is the highest level possible, is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in that region. "This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in this news release, adding: "It will take many months, and it won't be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days."

In addition to warning travelers to avoid going to the region, CDC is also assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. On the remote possibility that they do, CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, quarantine. Earlier in the week CDC issued this Health Alert Notice.
Immunization Awareness Month starts in just a few days
Time is running out for you to plan activities for National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). We've made it easy for you with our NIAM communications toolkit.  Check it out now. And be sure to use this online form to submit information about NIAM activities happening in your community. We strongly encourage you to submit those activities, which will be displayed on the NIAM website. This is a great way to share ideas with others and document all the great work we're doing for NIAM.
HPV vaccine coverage 'unacceptably low'
CDC reports that the number of girls and boys aged 13-17 receiving human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine remains unacceptably low. HPV vaccine prevents various forms of cancer, but it remains underutilized. There is a substantial gap between the number of adolescents receiving tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine and the number receiving HPV vaccine. Only 57 percent of adolescent girls and 35 percent of adolescent boys received one or more doses of HPV vaccine. However, nearly 86 percent of adolescents had received one dose of Tdap vaccine. News release is here and an infographic is here.
Study: Anal and throat cancer on the rise
While cervical cancers are declining in North America, other cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) are increasing, a new study indicates. HPV-related cancers of the anus and of the throat have increased over the past 35 years, especially among those younger than 45, Canadian researchers report. "The increases in oropharyngeal (throat) cancer among younger men and of anal cancer among younger women are disturbing, because there are no screening programs for early detection of these cancers," said study co-author Dr. Lorraine Shack of the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine. More here.
Colorado responds to four plague cases
Four human cases of the plague in Colorado have been linked to a dog that had died of plague. The dog likely was exposed to a prairie dog or rabbit with plague-infected fleas. The first person who was infected was hospitalized longer than the other three, who had mild symptoms and recovered quickly after antibiotic treatment. Local, state and federal health officials are working to investigate the cases and prevent further illnesses, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in this news release. Flea samples collected from the area tested positive for plague bacteria, prompting local health department staff to go door-to-door in the area with information about plague and to assess prairie dog populations. More on plague here.



VICNetwork webinar to preview flu season
Titled "Are you ready for flu?" a VICNetwork webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 3 p.m. Eastern will reveal CDC's recommendations and communication plans for the upcoming influenza season. It will feature an overview of the 2014-15 influenza season and information about this year's flu vaccine communication campaign plan for the general public along with new materials that will assist with reaching Hispanic, African American and American Indian/Alaska Native populations. More here including the registration link.
Health of immigrant children debated
Florida's health secretary and surgeon general, Dr. John Armstrong, signed a July 18 letter to the secretaries of FEMA and HHS demanding information about whether unaccompanied immigrant children might be carrying untreated infectious diseases. Then, Gov. Rick Scott's press office e-mailed Armstrong's letter to media statewide. This editorial in the Palm Beach Post quoted APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin as saying that based on that state's public health ranking, the biggest threat to the health of Floridians is the state's high rate of uninsured residents, not a thousand new immigrant children. 
Two elements to cut from press releases
You want your press releases to be lean and mean. All muscle, and no fat. Often there's some extra weight you can trim off to increase your chances of getting published. Remember, journalists and editors work with limited space and don't want to read an epic novel. Here are two things you may have included in your last press release that you should cut.
Durham County's '2 Legit 2 Quit' video
We came across a high-energy instructional video highlighting the multiple roles of a local health department. The video, titled "2 Legit 2 Quit," was produced by the Durham County N.C. Department of Public Health as part of its celebration of Public Health Week last April. Here's the video. Enjoy.
NPHIC Newsletter loaded with topical news
NPHIC's July-August newsletter is filled with key public health news. Read how Indiana's PIO responded to the intense challenge of the nation's first MERS case and how California's Health Department is helping tackle the Golden State's severe drought and wildfires. Other articles focus on the resurgence of measles; New York's new digital public health toolkit; how Alabama is addressing suicide as a public health issue; how two NPHIC members are seeking to reverse the appalling state of Native American oral health; how lead state PIOs are strengthening ties with the CDC; why animal diseases should concern you; and how you can "Speak up and go back to college." You can download the newsletter here.
Climb aboard NPHIC's Facebook page
NPHIC has an active Facebook page with content added regularly. So get on board, "like" us, sign up as a "friend," and comment on posts. Our Facebook page is here. See you there!
Are you missing some sweet tweets?
What? You're not following NPHIC on Twitter?  What's the delay?  Join our growing ranks of public health and communications followers today.  Also feel free to suggest items to tweet or re-tweet.
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