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Despite Big Obstacles, Haiti Making Remarkable Progress Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis

Categories: Health Protection, Leading Causes of Death, Disability, & Injury, Public Health & Clinical Care Collaboration

 Lymphatic filariasis patient foot

This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. For other posts by CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, visit his blog on The Huffington Post.

Haiti is not an easy place to fight disease even in the best of times. That was true even before a devastating earthquake ravaged Haiti’s capital and largest city, Port-au-Prince, in 2010.

For decades, poverty, government instability and other realities often stood in the way of success. This is why the recent data showing Haiti is protecting its entire population from lymphatic filariasis is a milestone — a real-life testament to persistence, creativity and collaboration.

Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, is one of the world’s most disabling and costly tropical diseases. Even though we have the tools to eliminate it entirely, it continues to affect more than 120 million people worldwide. Most Haitians are at risk and millions are already infected.

We Can Dramatically Decrease Deadly Infections in America’s Hospital Patients

Categories: Health Protection, Leading Causes of Death, Disability, & Injury, Public Health & Clinical Care Collaboration

This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. For other posts by CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, visit his blog on The Huffington Post.

Recently we announced a major new finding - a simple way to save tens of thousands of lives.

Around 100,000 people die every year because of infections they catch in hospitals. This is particularly tragic because many of those deaths are preventable.

We can cut healthcare-associated bloodstream infections by nearly half if hospitals do just two things differently – first, wash patients with a particular soap, and second, use an antibiotic ointment.

Health Care Costs: Fewer Americans Have Trouble Paying Medical Bills

Categories: Public Health & Clinical Care Collaboration

Woman getting blood pressure checked

This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. For other posts by CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, visit his blog on The Huffington Post.

CDC’s report, Problems Paying Medical Bills: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January 2011-June 2012, provides some encouraging news. The data show fewer Americans have trouble paying their medical bills.

Among adults between the ages of 18-64, the percentage of those in families that have problems paying medical bills decreased from 20.9 percent in the first half of 2011, to 19.7 percent in the first half of 2012. The news was also encouraging for teens and children 17 and younger living in families with problems paying medical bills. The percentage of these decreased from 23.7 percent to 21.8 percent for the same period.

While the report provides good news, far too many Americans still find it burdensome to access medical services.

Director’s Briefing Video: Talk to Your Doc About Quitting Smoking

Categories: Director's Briefing Videos, Leading Causes of Death, Disability, & Injury, Public Health & Clinical Care Collaboration

 
In this Director’s Briefing video, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden talks about how two-thirds of tobacco users want to quit, but fewer than one in ten succeed each year; however, advice from doctors can double or triple the odds that someone will quit for good. Doctors, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, and all healthcare providers need to play a critical role in helping tobacco users quit. For more information on CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign 2013, visit www.cdc.gov/tips.

For other Director’s Briefing videos, check out the CDC Director playlist on CDC’s YouTube channel.

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Director’s Briefing Video: CRE Infections and Antibiotic Resistance

Categories: Director's Briefing Videos, Health Protection, Leading Causes of Death, Disability, & Injury, Public Health & Clinical Care Collaboration

 
In this Director’s Briefing video, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden talks about drug-resistant bacteria called CRE. These bacteria pose a triple-threat: especially deadly, outsmarting our best antibiotics, and easily transfer their resistance to other germs. Patients are left with extremely limited, and in some cases, no treatment options. The latest Vital Signs reports that CRE are spreading in U.S. medical facilities. More normal bacteria are becoming highly-resistant CRE. These bacteria could be the beginning of the end of antibiotics, and the entire healthcare community must act now to stop them.

For other Director’s Briefing videos, check out the CDC Director playlist on CDC’s YouTube channel.

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