This 1963 poster featured CDC’s national symbol of public health – Wellbee – and included the date, time, and location of where one could receive a vaccination for polio and other diseases. Photo courtesy of the CDC Public Health Image Library.
Dr. Cara Burns is team lead of CDC’s Polio Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory within the Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease. We asked her about her work:
1. What do you do at CDC?
As a research microbiologist, I lead a team of scientists who support the worldwide polio eradication program by sequencing viral genes and tracking polioviruses as they spread. We can determine if polioviruses have been imported from one country to another. We can also figure out where children are being missed by the immunization teams, by combining the sequencing information with information about where and when people are paralyzed by polio. This combined approach is called molecular epidemiology, which is an important part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. CDC works with other major partners such as the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and Rotary International.