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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.

H7N9 Influenza: 6 Things You Should Know Now

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Global Health Threats, Public Health Partners

Image of the H7N9 virus courtesy of Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Thomas Rowe

Not long after a newsworthy 2012-2013 influenza season, flu is in the headlines again. On April 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) first reported 3 human infections with a new influenza A (H7N9) virus in China. Since then, additional cases have been reported. Most of the people reportedly infected have had severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, have died.

Fortunately, there are currently no reported cases of H7N9 in the U.S. or anywhere outside of China.  At CDC, we are following this situation closely, coordinating with domestic and international partners, taking routine preparedness steps, and sharing frequent updates.

CDC’s Public Health Associate Program: A Win for Young People, A Win for America’s Health Security

Categories: Emergency Preparedness & Response, Public Health Partners, State & Local Success, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

Laura Cianciolo and Cleopatra Adedeji  of CDC's Public Health Associate Program

Left to Right: Laura Cianciolo and Cleopatra Adedeji  of CDC’s Public Health Associate Program

A tuberculosis (TB) case manager. A quarantine public health officer. A district liaison for a state’s Strategic National Stockpile. Not typical job opportunities for recent college graduates, but three of many frontline public health work experiences young people have had across the country thanks to CDC’s Public Health Associate Program. With National Public Health Week 2013 upon us (April 1-7), CDC is working with its partners in state, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments to highlight the need for and value of developing America’s modern public health workforce to continue to save lives and protect people.

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