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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.

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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