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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.

On the Go in an Emergency: Stephanie’s Hurricane Sandy Story

Categories: Emergency Preparedness & Response, State & Local Success

Image of Stephanine

Stephanie

CDC works around-the-clock to save lives and protect people; however, there are steps you can take to prepare for emergencies, especially those caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes. Now that the 2013 hurricane season is upon us, we wanted to share with you Stephanie’s Hurricane Sandy story.  

When disaster strikes, you might be at home or at a number of other places. This can make it difficult for your family to follow an emergency plan. Packing emergency supplies and information in an emergency kit can make it easier to prepare and respond during a disaster, especially if you have a child with special health care needs.

Lauren was with her daughter, Stephanie, in the intensive care unit at a local hospital when Hurricane Sandy hit. Stephanie has autism and recently underwent a kidney transplant, which requires her to have refrigerated medicine and to be in a climate-controlled environment at all times. When they returned home, there was no electricity or heat, and the family soon realized that they would need a generator to help care for Stephanie’s medical needs. “We first thought of a generator before her kidney transplant, but it took being without electricity to realize we really needed it,” says Lauren. These are familiar challenges faced by many families during storms and other emergencies.

Despite Big Obstacles, Haiti Making Remarkable Progress Eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis

Categories: Global Health Threats, Public Health Partners

Lymphatic filariasis patient

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.

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