(1/705) Physician advice and individual behaviors about cardiovascular disease risk reduction--seven states and Puerto Rico, 1997.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) (e.g., heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for 959,227 deaths in 1996. Strategies to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke include lifestyle changes (e.g., eating fewer high-fat and high-cholesterol foods) and increasing physical activity. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that, as part of a preventive health examination, all primary-care providers counsel their patients about a healthy diet and regular physical activity. AHA also recommends low-dose aspirin use as a secondary preventive measure among persons with existing CVD. To determine the prevalence of physician counseling about cardiovascular health and changes in individual behaviors, CDC analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for seven states and Puerto Rico. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate a lower prevalence of counseling and behavior change among persons without than with a history of heart disease or stroke.  (+info)

(2/705) Elevated asthma morbidity in Puerto Rican children: a review of possible risk and prognostic factors.

Latino children represent a significant proportion of all US children, and asthma is the most common chronic illness affecting them. Previous research has revealed surprising differences in health among Latino children with asthma of varying countries of family origin. For instance, Puerto Rican children have a higher prevalence of asthma than Mexican American or Cuban American children. In addition, there are important differences in family structure and socioeconomic status among these Latino populations: Cuban Americans have higher levels of education and family income than Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans; mainland Puerto Rican children have the highest proportion of households led by a single mother. Our review of past research documents differences in asthma outcomes among Latino children and identifies the possible genetic, environmental, and health care factors associated with these differences. Based on this review, we propose research studies designed to differentiate between mutable and immutable risk and prognostic factors. We also propose that the sociocultural milieus of Latino subgroups of different ethnic and geographic origin are associated with varying patterns of risk factors that in turn lead to different morbidity patterns. Our analysis provides a blue-print for future research, policy development, and the evaluation of multifactorial interventions involving the collaboration of multiple social sectors, such as health care, public health, education, and public and private agencies.  (+info)

(3/705) Age-specific decrease in seroprevalence of schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico.

In our previous work, we reported the first systematic, island-wide, serologic survey for schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico in 40 years. In that study, approximately 3,000 serum samples from the 76 municipalities comprising the island of Puerto Rico were tested for the detection of antibodies to S. mansoni microsomal antigens by the Falcon assay screening test-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (FAST-ELISA) and those positive were confirmed by an enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB). The highest EITB positivity was found in 17 municipalities, which comprised 48% of all seropositive samples. An additional finding was that 10% of the 215 EITB-positive samples were from individuals 25 years or younger and were for the most part of residents from the high seroprevalence areas. Thus, for this study we focused on 766 individuals 25 years of age or younger (45.5% males and 54.4% females), two-thirds of which were from 10 municipalities with the highest EITB seropositivity, and one-third from the 10 municipalities with the lowest EITB seropositivity found in our previous study. Of all samples, the results showed an overall FAST-ELISA positivity of 11.6%, with males similar to females (12.6 versus 10.7%, respectively). Confirmation by EITB was only 1.8%, with a males three-fold higher than females (3% versus 0.7%). When seropositivity was measured by age in five-year increments, a clear age-specific decrease in seropositivity was observed. Thus, by FAST-ELISA, 16.7% of the 21-25-year-old age group was positive, decreasing to 14.6%, 9.9%, 7.9%, and 9.3% in the 16-20-, 11-15-, 6-10-, and 1-5-year-old age groups, respectively. Confirmatory EITB showed even more impressive results: 4.7%, 2.6%, 1.2%, 0.7%, and 0% in the same age brackets. With regard to the high prevalence municipalities, only four of 10 (11 of 228 = 4.8%) had confirmatory EITB-positive samples and most were from municipalities of the Rio Grande de Loiza River basin and tributaries. The male to female positivity ratio was 4:1. Of the low prevalence municipalities, only single positive cases (by EITB) were found in three disperse municipalities. These results support the concept that there has been little transmission of S. mansoni in Puerto Rico during the first half of the 1990s and confirms anecdotal comments of local physicians who have seen virtually no new infections during the past three years. This makes the documentation of eradication of schistosomiasis from Puerto Rico feasible, a goal that should be set as being before the 100th anniversary of its discovery on the island by Isaac Gonzalez-Martinez in 1904.  (+info)

(4/705) A deviation bar chart for detecting dengue outbreaks in Puerto Rico.

OBJECTIVES: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deviation bar chart (Statistical Software for Public Health Surveillance) and laboratory-based surveillance data were evaluated for their utility in detecting dengue outbreaks in Puerto Rico. METHODS: A significant increase in dengue incidence was defined as an excess of suspected cases of more than 2 SDs beyond the mean for all 4-week periods from April through June (the period of lowest seasonal incidence), 1989 through 1993. An outbreak was defined as a cumulative annual rate of reported dengue greater than 3 per 1000 population. RESULTS: Retrospective application of the system to 1994 data showed agreement with previous analyses. In 1995 and 1996, 36.4% and 27.3%, respectively, of municipalities with a significant increase in reports for 2 or more consecutive weeks before the first week of September had an outbreak, compared with 9.0% (in 1995, P = .042) and 6.0% (in 1996, P = .054) of towns without a significant increase. The system showed sensitivity near 40%, specificity near 89%, and accuracy in classifying municipalities near 84%. CONCLUSIONS: This method provides a statistically based, visually striking, specific, and timely signal for dengue control efforts.  (+info)

(5/705) Cost of illness studies for schizophrenia: components, benefits, results, and implications.

Although schizophrenia affects only about 1% of the worldwide population, it is costly to patients, their families, community care centers, hospitals, and society. International cost of illness studies show a wide variation, with annual costs ranging from Australia's $139 million US dollars (1975) to the cost in the United States of $65.2 billion US dollars (1991). Since methodology and assumptions vary widely from study to study and country to country, it is a challenge to directly compare the results of these studies. Nevertheless, the published COI studies reveal several consistent trends. Inpatient care may be the largest cost driver for direct costs, suggesting that relapse prevention is key to reducing healthcare costs. Indirect costs resulting from the patient's and caregiver's inability to fully participate in the work force is extensive due to the debilitating nature of the disease and its early onset. Lastly, when prescription drug costs were reported, they represented no more than 3% of direct cost.  (+info)

(6/705) Seroepidemiology of schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico: evidence for vanishing endemicity.

The current study summarizes our findings of anti-schistosome egg antibody by the circumoval precipitin test for two different populations in Puerto Rico. One group, exclusively males more than 40 years of age and from all municipalities on the island, was from the Veterans Administration Hospital for the period 1988-1997. The second group resided southeast of San Juan, around the municipality of Caguas and adjacent municipalities east of Caguas, was of both sexes and mostly until 1997 of undetermined ages for the period 1993-1997. Results reveal a yearly decrease in testing requests from the Veterans Administration Hospital from 148 in 1988 and 1989 with 16% positive to three in 1996 through 1998 with none positive. This decrease in testing requests was because of a decrease of suspicion of schistosomiasis in this group. The other patient population from the Caguas region showed a gradual but continuous decrease in seropositive individuals from 21% in 1993 to 12% in 1996, with precipitous decrease to 5% in 1997 and only 1% in 1998. Moreover, there were four patients from which at least two serum samples were obtained one or two years apart and tested. In each instance the more recently obtained sample had lower antibody reactions than the first as reflected in lower percentages of positive egg reactors. The fact that they were treated with praziquantel after the first testing also suggests that the infected population was being eliminated through chemotherapy. These combined results suggest the elimination of infections with Schistosoma mansoni in the traditionally high prevalence regions east of San Juan in the absence of any proactive control efforts in Puerto Rico. Because of the rapid urbanizing of Puerto Rico, the one identifiable control effort is economic development and well being.  (+info)

(7/705) Prevalence and correlates of anergy among drug users in Puerto Rico.

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed prevalence and correlates of anergy among a cohort of drug users in communities in the San Juan metropolitan area. METHODS: In all, 719 drug injectors and crack users were recruited in neighbourhoods in the San Juan metropolitan area following a stratified cluster design of 30 copping areas (places where drugs are sold). RESULTS: Slightly more than one-third of the total proportion of participants, 34.2%, were HIV positive and 30.3% anergic. Subjects with a history of incarceration, the HIV positive, and those reporting chronic illness were more likely to be anergic than those subjects without these characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: Most studies addressing drug users' immune system dysfunction are related to HIV infection. Additional studies are needed to provide a more comprehensive understanding of drug users' immune systems.  (+info)

(8/705) Increase of leptospirosis in dengue-negative patients after a hurricane in Puerto Rico in 1996 [correction of 1966].

Leptospirosis has rarely been reported in Puerto Rico, although in the period from 1948 to 1952, 208 cases of leptospirosis and an island-wide seroprevalence of antibody to Leptospira of 14% were documented. In Puerto Rico in October 1996, following rainfall and a period of flooding generated by Hurricane Hortense, serum specimens of 4 patients with suspected dengue fever that were negative for dengue tested positive for Leptospira-specific IgM antibodies in a dipstick assay. Subsequently, we used an island-wide dengue laboratory-based surveillance system to determine the increase in leptospirosis after hurricane-generated floods. All anti-dengue IgM-negative patients (n = 142) with disease onset from August 8 to October 6, 1996 from prehurricane and posthurricane groups were investigated for leptospirosis. Laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis cases were defined as microscopic agglutination test titers > or = 1 :400 to 1 or more serovars, or positive immunohistochemistry in autopsy tissues. Four (6%) of 72 prehurricane and 17 (24%) of 70 posthurricane patients had laboratory-confirmed cases of leptospirosis (relative risk [RR] = 4.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6-12.4). The mean age of case-patients was 34 years (range = 13-64). Eighteen (86%) of 21 confirmed case-patients were males, including one patient who died (31 years old). Patients were located in 18 (38%) of 48 municipalities that submitted serum samples. Clinical features significantly associated with leptospirosis were eye pain (RR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.3-1.9), joint pain (RR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1-1.6), diarrhea (RR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2-2.5), and jaundice (RR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.5-7.2). This study demonstrates the utility of a dengue laboratory-based surveillance system for the detection of an increase of leptospirosis, which most likely would have gone unrecognized. Leptospirosis is treatable with antibacterial agents; knowledge of this diagnosis may significantly reduce morbidity and mortality.  (+info)