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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.

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.

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