CDC Adviser Arrested for Urinal Incident Monday, January 22, 2007
(01-22) 14:53 PST ATLANTA (AP) --
A prominent public health expert who is a top adviser to federal health agencies was arrested on suspicion of public indecency in an airport men's room. Dr. Hugh H. Tilson, 67, was arrested Jan. 16 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after a plainclothes police officer said he saw Tilson masturbating at a urinal while watching other men urinate.
Tilson, a part-time faculty member at the University of North Carolina's School of Public Health, has advised the government and industry on health issues and co-authored an influential 1988 report on the future of public health in the U.S. Tilson recently co-chaired a task force advising the Atlanta-based federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on setting agency priorities and goals. He was visiting Atlanta last week for a senior leadership retreat with CDC Director Julie Gerberding and others. CDC spokesman Glen Nowak said Monday that agency officials had just learned of Tilson's arrest. The agency had no comment "because it's a law enforcement matter," he said.
Tilson could not immediately be reached for comment at his UNC office or Raleigh, N.C., home, or through his university e-mail. UNC officials issued a statement that clarified that Tilson is not a classroom instructor. "The university takes the charges seriously. We think it is important to let the Georgia judicial system resolve the case," the statement said. Public indecency is a city code violation, which is considered of less consequence than a misdemeanor, according to a police report. Tilson posted a $500 bond and was released, and is to return to Atlanta next month for a court appearance.
Sick Idea: CDC Hands Out Disease Trading Cards
POSTED: 2:58 pm EDT June 27, 2007
UPDATED: 4:37 pm EDT June 27, 2007
ATLANTA -- A dead zebra on a card labeled "anthrax".
A close-up of an oozing ulcer.
They might not replace baseball trading cards as a hobby, but the Centers for Disease Control says sick trading cards are amazingly popular. It's CDC's way of getting middle school kids interested in science and health.
The CDC gives the cards away for free at its visitor center, when the agency can keep them in stock. The sick cards disappear faster than a case of the 24 hour flu. The CDC said as it developed the idea, it was careful not to be too graphic. "We changed images to make sure they weren't scary for kids", said Judy Gantt, the director of the CDC's Global Health Oddysey.
What was scarier than the dead zebra on the anthrax card?
"The picture before the zebra was a woman who had anthrax on her eye," said Gantt. "She basically lost her eye from anthrax. It was pretty gory." Right now the cards are out of stock, but you can download the pictures for free by clicking here. What's next for this truly sick idea? Foodborne illness trading cards are set to come out later this summer.
Here's the link to the cards about vaccines
Congress Scrutinizes Spending At CDC
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2007 (CBS) The Center for Disease Control’s main mission is to prevent disease, and the agency has been credited with some terrific strides in public health. But a startling analysis from Congress says the CDC is squandering hundreds of millions of your tax dollars in ways many find hard to believe, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.
To talk about fat in the CDC budget, you can start 2,000 miles away in Hollywood, where CDC pays a liaison to help TV dramas and soap operas write accurate medical plots. The service is free of charge to Tinseltown moguls, through the generosity of $1.7 million of your tax dollars.
“That is obviously a waste of taxpayer dollars and they need to stop it,” said Sen. Dave Weldon, R-Fla.
Weldon, who is also a doctor, is member of the House committee that funds CDC. He's outraged by the Hollywood story and other examples of spending exposed in a Congressional report: "CDC Off-Center".
Read the full report on CDC waste.
Fast Fact: And after it spent $269 million tax dollars on an effort to eliminate syphilis, syphilis rates went up 68 percent.
There's the new $109 million headquarters filled with nearly $10 million in furniture, which the report says works out to $12,000 per person in the building.
It's named after Arlen Specter, a top Republican senator in charge of CDC funding. But the naming is bipartisan. A top Democrat, Sen. Thomas Harkin, gets his name on the new $106 million communications and visitors center, complete with waterfalls, plasma TV's and more.
The $200,000 fitness center rivals the most posh private clubs with $30,000 saunas, "quiet rooms" and "zero gravity chairs" complete with "mood-enhancing light shows" for stressed out employees.
As for disease prevention, your money's being spent there too, but too often with disappointing results, says the report.
AIDS grants have been given to groups who've used them for workshops on erotic writing, how to flirt, and how to throw an alcohol party.
The CDC spent $5 billion over seven years on AIDS prevention, but the infection rate didn't drop a bit.
And after it spent $269 million tax dollars on an effort to eliminate syphilis, syphilis rates went up 68 percent.
“If a private company were spending money and getting no results like that, investors would withdraw their money,” Weldon said.
CDC Director Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., wouldn't agree to an interview, from CDC's new state-of-the-art television studio or anywhere else.
But the agency issued a statement saying "CDC takes seriously the need to wisely and appropriately use its resources," and that the report gives an incomplete view of its "excellent public health work."
The new facility replaces dilapidated buildings and "have led to scientific advances and strengthened our ability to respond to public health emergencies."
The CDC recently told Congress it needs $1 billion more for 2008 on top of its $10 billion budget. At least some here are saying the agency needs to do a thorough internal exam before asking taxpayers to open their wallets wider.
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CDC's deadly mistakes
Sometimes connecting the dots reveals a grim picture. Several new reports about hospital infections show that the danger is increasing rapidly, and that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn't leveling with the public about it.
Tomorrow Congress will hold hearings on whether the federal government is doing enough to prevent deadly hospital infection. The answer is "no." The biggest culprit is the CDC. The CDC claims 1.7 million people contract infections in U.S. hospitals each year. The truth is several times that number. The proof is in the data.
One of the fastest growing infections is "Mersa" or MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a superbug that doesn't respond to most antibiotics. In 1993, there were fewer than 2,000 MRSA infections in U.S. hospitals. By 2005, the figure had shot up to 368,000 according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. By June, 2007, 2.4 percent of all patients had MRSA hospital infections, according to the largest-ever study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control. That would mean 880,000 victims a year.
That's from one superbug. Imagine the number of infections from bacteria of all kinds, including such killers as VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and C. diff (Clostridium difficile). Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told Congress that MRSA accounts for only 8 percent of hospital infections.
These new facts discredit the CDC's official 1.7 million estimate. CDC spokeswoman Nicole Coffin admits "the number isn't perfect." In fact, it is an irresponsible guesstimate based on a sliver of 6-year-old (2002) data. The CDC researchers who came up with it complained that not having actual data "complicated the problem."
Numbers matter. Health conditions that affect the largest number of people generally command more research dollars and public attention.
The problem doesn't end there. The CDC has resisted calling on hospitals to make the key change needed to stop infections: MRSA screening. A study in the March issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows MRSA infections can be prevented by testing incoming patients and taking precautions on those who test positive.
The test is a noninvasive skin or nasal swab. Researchers at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare System, a group of three hospitals near Chicago, reduced MRSA infections 70 percent over two years. "If it works in these three different hospitals, it will work anywhere," said the study's lead author, Dr. Lance Peterson, an epidemiologist.
That's fortunate, because the problem is everywhere. The June 2007 survey found MRSA is "endemic in virtually all U. S. health-care facilities." Screening is necessary because patients who unknowingly carry MRSA bacteria on their body shed it in particles on wheel chairs, blood pressure cuffs, and virtually every surface. These patients don't realize they have the germ, because it doesn't make then sick until it gets inside their body, usually via a surgical incision, a catheter, or a ventilator for breathing. With screening, hospitals can identify the MRSA positive patients, isolate them, use separate equipment, and insist on gowns and gloves when treating them.
Screening is common in several European countries that have almost eradicated MRSA, and some 50 studies show it works in the U.S. too.
Congress and seven state legislatures are considering making screening mandatory. Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania acted in 2007. Why is legislation needed? Because the CDC, which is responsible for providing guidelines for hospitals on how to prevent infections, has failed to recommend that all hospitals screen patients. The CDC's lax guidelines give hospitals an excuse to do too little.
It is common for government regulators to become soft on the industry they are supposed to regulate. A coziness develops. Federal Aviation Administration inspectors failed to insist on timely electrical systems inspections, say news reports. The same may be true at the CDC, where government administrators spend too much time listening to hospital executives and not enough time with grieving families.
Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York.
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Sunday, Jan 04th 2009 09:30 p.m.
Now can you ask the CDC where they get the 36,000 a year die from the flu, when all the CDC's vital statistics show approximately 1,300 a year die from the flu. And while you are at it ask them why they recommend flu shots for pregnant women when the insert says "Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Influenza Virus Vaccine. It is not known whether Influenza Virus Vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Influenza Virus Vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
Gee, CDC can't count lead poisoning either ...
More D.C. Kids Had Elevated Lead Than Stated
By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
More than twice as many D.C. children as previously reported by federal and local health officials had high levels of lead in their blood amid the city's drinking water crisis, according to congressional investigators, throwing into doubt assurances by those officials that the lead in tap water did not seriously harm city children.
The new information was uncovered by a House subcommittee investigating the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's performance and has raised congressional concern about whether the agency properly alerted District residents to a health risk from unprecedented levels of lead in the water.
Local officials could not say Monday whether some children with unsafe lead exposure have gone without intervention to reduce health risks.
The CDC and city health department had reported dangerously high lead levels in 193 children in 2003, the worst year for high concentrations of lead in city tap water. But lab data gathered by congressional investigators this year show that the actual number was 486 children.
The subcommittee's investigators uncovered the higher figures by seeking the data directly from all D.C. labs that analyze local test results. After the lead problem became public in 2004, blood tests from thousands of city children taken in 2003 were inexplicably missing from D.C. government files.
Using the partial data, the CDC, the nation's leading public health agency, and the D.C. Department of Health published a paper reporting that they were not finding a significant increase in children with dangerous lead levels.
"There is no indication that DC residents have blood lead levels above the CDC levels of concern," Mary Jean Brown, the CDC's top lead poisoning prevention official, wrote in a summary of her paper. She wrote the report with the Department of Health in March 2004 after residents and Congress learned about the lead problem.
Brown stressed at the time that from 2001 to 2004, blood lead levels among the city's children and adults were generally dropping as levels in the city's water were rising.
The 2003 data on blood tests for children were considered critical in measuring whether a widespread spike in lead in the city's drinking water had harmed children's health. That year, the city found tens of thousands of city homes with elevated lead in the water. It was not until 2004 that the public was alerted to the problem and many residents began protecting themselves and their children by switching to filtered or bottled water. Since then, the city has changed its water treatment. Lead levels have fallen and are at historical lows.
Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), chairman of the investigations and oversight subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee, which is conducting the inquiry, said the new findings raise questions about the CDC's performance.
"Parents thought that they didn't have to worry about lead in their children's drinking water because they trusted CDC," Miller said. "The CDC can't lend their credibility simply to assure the public that there is nothing to worry about. If they say everything is fine, then everything better really be fine."
In letters sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on Monday evening, Miller requested more agency documents. He said the CDC should have known it had "wildly incomplete" data when it published research that "suggested there was no danger to children and the public from elevated lead levels in the water."
"The disparity in the numbers reported by the CDC and the data obtained by the subcommittee is extraordinarily disturbing," Miller wrote, adding that the missing data "should have set off warning bells that the CDC could not rely on the numbers being provided for public health statements."
In a written statement, CDC officials declined to comment on the new data, saying they had not seen it.
Fenty's office released a statement saying: "The Administration looks forward to receiving the findings of the congressional investigation related to the 2003 lead reporting between DOH and the CDC and, once reviewed, we will use its findings to better serve D.C. residents."
Recent research at Children's National Medical Center indicates that children who lived in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of lead in the water -- Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights and northern sections of Ward 4 -- were much more likely to have elevated lead in their bloodstream.
Blood test results are collected when doctors and labs report the results to the city health department, which monitors children to try to reduce their exposure to lead. Fetuses and children younger than 6 are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, and high levels can cause a permanent loss in IQ, motor coordination and the ability to communicate.
In 2001 and 2002, the health department had collected results from 16,042 children and 15,755 children, respectively. But in 2003, results from only 9,229 children were on file with the department.
After the lead problem was reported in January 2004, Brown and her deputies from the CDC questioned city health officials about why they had fewer tests. They responded that some labs did not report test results of low lead levels. Brown told The Washington Post this year that she believed that the missing data would probably not affect the findings in her paper because they did not involve high lead readings.
On Monday, CDC officials said that Brown did not ask for the data because labs are required to report to the District. "CDC has no authority to require that laboratories report directly to it," according to the CDC statement.
John Rosen, a pediatric expert on lead and the head of the lead-poisoning prevention program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, expressed surprise that officials drew conclusions based on data they knew was incomplete and did not seek the missing data from the labs.
"This is unacceptable science, and it's unacceptable public health, and the losers are the children who may suffer a lifetime from elevated lead exposure," he said.
The 2003 test results suggested that the incidence of dangerous lead exposure was falling in the District, a decline cited in a George Washington University paper.
William Walker, the chairman of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority board, said that he could not comment about data he had not seen or how health agencies performed in 2003 but that he is eager to learn more about the House panel's findings.
"If this is true -- that there are a lot more kids with elevated lead -- it's of great concern to us," Walker said. "We're going to look at the data and see what the committee comes out with in their investigation and respond accordingly."