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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).

5 Fast Facts about this Year’s Flu Season

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

 

Image above: Digitally-colorized image of a collection of influenza A virions. The predominant influenza A virus this year is H1N1.

Every season, flu causes on average 200,000 Americans to go to the hospital and kills thousands to tens of thousands of people depending on the severity of the season. Because flu is unpredictable, each season is different. That’s why CDC works hard to protect people by tracking flu every season. CDC  identifies where flu viruses are circulating, those that are most affected by this season’s viruses, and communicates that information to the public.  

Here are some things to know about the 2013-2014 flu season so far and steps you can take to protect yourself from flu. 

CDC’s Top Ten: 5 Health Achievements in 2013 and 5 Health Threats in 2014

Categories: Disease Detectives, Global Health Threats, Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

 

As the year comes to a close, CDC, America’s health protection agency, looks back at top five health concerns in 2013 and previews the five health threats that loom for 2014.

CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC increases the health security of our nation year in and year out.

Evacuating During an Emergency: Zoe’s Wildfire Story

Categories: Emergency Preparedness & Response

Wildfire image

A wildfire sweeps across Zoe’s town

September 2013 marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CDC strives to save lives and protect people, and one way we do this is by helping the public prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters like wildfires in Zoe’s case.

In a typical day, many families are apart throughout cities and towns because of work or school. You never know if you will be with your family when an emergency occurs. That’s why it’s important to have an evacuation plan that involves all family members and any child caretakers to help bring your family together.

More than 500 homes were destroyed when a wildfire swept across Lorraine’s town, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate. “Evacuations began when both parents were at work, leaving our child with her nurse assistant stranded at home while we rushed home fighting traffic,” says Lorraine. Her daughter, Zoe, needs a caretaker at all times because of spinal muscular atrophy, which requires her to be completely dependent on someone for her daily living activities. Zoe also requires special equipment such as a power wheelchair, hospital bed for sleeping, oxygen pump, and a patient lift to help move from one place to another.  Without much time to prepare for the evacuation, Lorraine and her husband had to quickly pack all of Zoe’s medical supplies and evacuate to a hotel for a couple of days.

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