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Selected Category: Innovative Labs

Keeping Tabs on Deadly Diseases

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Innovative Labs

(Above photo: Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.)

This post originally appeared in CDC’s blog Public Health Matters.

CDC is responsible for protecting the public from a host of health threats, including some pretty scary pathogens, like Ebola virus or anthrax for example. One way we do this is through our Select Agents Program which is responsible for governing and regulating the use of certain pathogens by research facilities and labs around the world. In the beginning of December I had the remarkable opportunity to accompany the inspection team who helps regulate the Select Agents Program on one of their routine lab inspections. I was invited to an inspection of a laboratory in the Southeast region of the U.S. that handles rare and dangerous pathogens to get a glimpse of how the Inspection team operates, what they look for, and what they do to protect us.

New Mobile App Helps Providers Prevent Life-threatening Infections in Newborns

Categories: Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

The phrase, “…time is of the essence,” often rings true when working to protect people from health threats. It is especially true when caring for infants.  CDC launched a new app—Prevent Group B Strep (GBS) — in October 2013 created specifically for busy health care providers on the go.

Each year about 1,200 infants less than 1 week old get early-onset group B strep disease in the United States. Group B Streptococcus bacteria, or GBS, are a leading cause of infection and death within the first week of life. These bacteria can cause life-threating infections, such as sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain).

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

Categories: Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

MRSA

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.

Arms Race: Getting Ahead of Killer Microbes

Categories: Disease Detectives, Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

SARS virus

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.

The SARS epidemic a decade ago showed the world’s continued vulnerability to infectious disease outbreaks. SARS started in China but spread worldwide quickly. In just weeks, it killed hundreds, sickened thousands, and cost over $30 billion to global business and travel.

 At the time, China was slow to recognize, respond to, and report the new disease. Ineffective global tracking and cooperation dramatically slowed our international response. Eventually, SARS was stopped because we were able to identify the virus and apply infection control measures. We were also lucky — the virus helped by fading away before things got worse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the world have made progress since SARS. We continue to hunt 24/7 for disease threats, and global collaboration to stop diseases from spreading has improved. In the decade since SARS, CDC and China have worked together closely. China is now better prepared to track, test for, sequence the genome of, and respond to the new H7N9 influenza strain.

CDC Scientists Produce Speedy Results Analyzing H7N9 Virus

Categories: Emergency Preparedness & Response, Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

Dr. Michael Shaw, Influenza Division, CDC

People continue to be infected with H7N9 bird flu in China. Fortunately, there is no evidence that this virus is spreading from person-to-person the way seasonal flu does. However, flu viruses are constantly changing and this virus could gain the ability to spread easily among people. At CDC, we are working around-the-clock in China and at home to respond to the global threat posed by H7N9.  We are monitoring the situation closely, coordinating response efforts with international and domestic partners, and keeping the public and health providers informed (check out the H7N9 webpage and our recent blog post, H7N9 Influenza: 6 Things You Should Know Now).

We are also taking routine preparedness measures, including developing a candidate vaccine virus that could be used to make a H7N9 vaccine if one is needed. Other important work to learn more about the virus is ongoing in the CDC laboratories. In this short video, Dr. Michael Shaw, associate director for Laboratory Science in the Influenza Division, talks about how CDC’s scientists are studying the genetic sequences of the H7N9 virus. These dedicated scientists are producing results at an amazing speed – leading to a better understanding of the virus, including what drugs can be used to treat it and how the virus might be changing. The bottom line to all this work is improving CDC’s ability to protect people against this emerging public health threat.

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