CDC

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Public health is in trouble.

Most news on the dangers of antibiotic-resistant infections focus on adults. But children are very much at risk too. In fact, a recent study found that U.S. children have experienced a 700 percent surge in infections caused by particular bacteria that’s both resistant to multiple antibiotics and responsible for growing numbers of serious bacterial infections in kids.

Because taking health insurance away from millions of Americans isn’t bad enough, President-elect Trump has reportedly asked an outspoken critic of vaccines — a man who supported the thoroughly debunked notion that vaccines are linked to autism — to lead a commission on vaccine safety.

While The Pump Handle is on holiday break, we are republishing some of our favorite posts from the past year. This one is from January 2016: : In the midst of another national debate over gun safety regulations, some argue that higher rates of gun ownership will protect people from dangerous strangers with deadly intentions. Physician and public health researcher Michael Siegel set out to study that argument. He ultimately found no relationship between gun ownership and stranger-related firearm homicides. But he did find that gun ownership levels translated into higher homicide risks for one group in particular — women.

As 2016 comes to a close — and 2017 looms with enormous uncertainty — let’s end the year with some encouraging public health news. This time it’s a study on one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century: fluoridation.

For the first time in more than two decades, U.S. life expectancy has dropped.

More than 2 million U.S. adults may be living with workplace-related asthma, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In troubling public health news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported just yesterday that combined cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia in the U.S. have climbed to the highest number on record.

“In my darker hours when I’m sleeping at night, that’s where I go.” Those are words from Eric Blank, senior director for public health systems at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), talking about the enormous difficulties that public health labs faced in confronting the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Now he fears that without emergency federal funds and in the face of new funding cuts, Zika virus will force the nation’s critical public health lab network into that same scenario — or into something even worse.

With near constant news on the threat of Zika virus and a quickly growing evidence base detailing the virus’ devastating impact on fetal brain development, you’d think Congress could get its act together to make sure our public health system is fully prepared and equipped to confront the mosquito-borne disease. Sadly, you’d be wrong.