CDC

Updated at 8:48 p.m. ET

The birthrate fell for nearly every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S. in 2017, reflecting a sharp drop that saw the fewest newborns since 1987, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 3,853,472 births in the U.S. in 2017 — "down 2 percent from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years," the CDC said.

The tall, gangly man twists a cone of paper in his hands as stories from nearly 30 years of addiction pour out: the robbery that landed him in prison at 17; never getting his GED; going through the horrors of detox, maybe 40 times, including this latest, which he finished two weeks ago. He's now in a residential unit for at least 30 days.

Associated Press

The new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gotten a big salary reduction.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that Dr. Robert Redfield Jr.'s new salary will be $209,700, down from $375,000.

The previous figure was at least $150,000 more than any previous CDC director had received.

The Trump administration named HIV expert Dr. Robert Redfield to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignoring complaints that he botched high-profile vaccine research more than 20 years ago.

The Army in 1994 acknowledged accuracy issues with HIV vaccine clinical trials led by Redfield, but concluded at the time that the data errors did not constitute misconduct.

Camila Kerwin / WLRN

In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, politicians and activists have discussed funding more gun injury research.

The Human Rights Campaign, working with artist Robin Bell, projected words like "fetus" and "transgender" onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night, to protest the words being included on a "forbidden" list circulating at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For years, doctors have asked people about tobacco use and excessive drinking in the hopes that the answers could help lead people to cut down or quit.

But screening alone isn't usually sufficient to change behavior.

As opioid use hits record highs in the U.S., Christiana Care Health System in Delaware is starting to ask people about opioid use — and then go further.

In November 2016, Christiana Care staff started asking patients during routine visits and in the emergency room questions like these:

Kate Stein / WLRN

A chemical used for mosquito control in South Florida has been the source of controversy in recent weeks, after a study showed it could be linked to developmental delays in infants.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

 


Zika is a scary virus because of the terrible birth defects it can cause. Now scientists have a clearer sense of the size of that risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 2,549 pregnant women with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories between Jan. 1, 2016 and April 25, 2017. The CDC found that 122 of these women — about 5 percent — gave birth to babies with birth defects such as small heads (known as microcephaly).

If you're tracking emerging infectious agents in the United States, it's time to add a new one to the list.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 13 cases of a fungal infection first seen in Japan in 2009. The culprit is called Candida auris.

The fungus has appeared among hospitalized patients with cancer-damaged immune systems or other serious conditions.

alex_ugalek / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Temperatures may be dropping a little in Florida, but that doesn’t mean the Zika virus is going away anytime soon, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Here’s the plain truth,” Frieden told an audience at The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference in Miami. “Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti are really not controllable with current technology. So we will see this become endemic in this hemisphere.”

Federal health officials are urging all Americans to get their flu shots as soon as possible, and are especially concerned that too few elderly people are getting vaccinated.

"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters during a joint briefing Thursday with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "Flu often does not get enough respect."

Cat-scratch disease, as the name suggests, is spread by cats. It has long been considered a mild illness, but a study finds that people are getting more serious complications, which can be fatal.

"The scope and impact of the disease is a little bit larger than we thought," says Dr. Christina Nelson, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author on the study. It's the first large-scale evaluation of the illness in the United States in over 15 years.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

 This week, there is confusion, fear and anger in Miami Beach -- one of two Miami-Dade county zika transmission hot spots. The cause of the public outcry? The pre-dawn aerial spraying for zika-carrying mosquitoes that began this morning.  Round two of that spraying is set for Sunday.

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