Family vacation time in Disneyland has started a nationwide conversation about vaccinations against measles and other preventable diseases.

According to new CDC data on immunization rates of kindergartners in the 2013-2014 school year, 94.7 percent of children had received the MMR vaccine. This national level is below the recommended rate of 95 percent, which provides "herd immunity" extending protection to those who might not be able to receive the immunization due to medical conditions. 

Over 90,000 children were...

Who would have believed that a holiday trip to California’s Disneyland could lead to the sudden spread of measles, a disease formerly believed to have been nearly eradicated? The new outbreak of measles—reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have infected 121 people in 17 states and the District of Columbia between Jan. 1 and Feb. 6, 2015 —has brought the topic of vaccinations into the public eye and become one of the top political discussions of the day.

States face a conundrum as they struggle to regulate and tax e-cigarettes and other vapor systems that deliver nicotine to their users. Definitions in current tobacco and smoking laws can be amended to apply; however the evidence-base to establish equivalency to tobacco has not yet been established. Only three states have totally prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in public places, but 41 states prohibit the purchase of e-cigarettes to minors. Just two states have established taxes on these new products.

E-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system. They heat liquid containing nicotine and flavorings into a vapor by passing it over a small electronic battery. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales grew from $2 million in 2009 to $722 million in 2013.

In the fall of 2014, the attention of state leaders and their constituents was focused on the Ebola epidemic in Africa and how to prevent its spread to the United States. In the days since the first U.S. case was diagnosed in Texas, federal and state leaders have strived to implement evidence-based responses to the disease. This CSG eCademy features Christine Kosmos, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of State and Local Readiness, who explores lessons learned about Ebola and states’ responses, as well as state/federal role differentiation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States Sept. 30. That patient, a man who had traveled to Texas from Liberia, where he was exposed to the virus, died Oct. 8. Since then, the federal and state governments have worked to develop evidenced-based policies and procedures for the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease. CSG will host an eCademy Tuesday, Dec. 9, featuring Christine Kosmos, director of the CDC’s Division of State and Local Readiness. She will discuss lessons learned about Ebola and states’ responses in the past 60 days.

On December 2, 2014, the White House released an update fact sheet on the nation's preparedness to detect, treat and prevention Ebola in the United States and abroad. 

The federal government has designated 35 Ebola treatment centers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. These hospitals are recognized for their biocontainment capability to treat Ebola and other infectious diseases. The goal is to reach 50 Ebola treatment...

Today the EPA released its proposed update to the air quality standards for ground-level ozone.  The proposal lowers the ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion, where it’s been since 2008, to a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion.   EPA estimates most areas will be in compliance with the standard by 2025. 

A revised ozone standard of 70 to 60 parts per billion was recommended by the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee, a scientific panel that advises EPA in setting the national ambient air quality standards...

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Minnesota has become the second state in the Midwest to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds. Under HF 2402, tanning-bed owners and operators will be charged with a misdemeanor for violating the state statute. Illinois’ under-18 ban (HB 188) was signed into law last year.
 

On November 4, 2014, citizens in two California cities—San Francisco and Berkeley—voted on proposed soda tax initiatives. As expected, San Francisco voters did not pass the measure. However, the initiative in Berkeley, known as Measure D, passed with 75% of the vote, making Berkeley the first city in the nation to tax soda and sugary drinks.

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