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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.

Bringing Public Health to Life: Winners of CDC’s 9th Annual Public Health in Action Photo Contest

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners, State & Local Success, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

1. The Hajj and Disease Surveillance by John P. Abellera: This photo was taken in Mina, Saudi Arabia on the first day of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj attracts more than 3 million Muslims from over 140 countries and poses serious disease outbreak concerns. The CDC Office of Global Health was invited by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to provide epidemiologic and technical assistance to KSA’s Ministry of Health in the use of mobile technology and data analysis to enhance disease surveillance.

In anticipation of National Public Health Week (April 1-7, 2013), CDC unveiled the winners of its Ninth Annual Public Health in Action Photo Contest. The 11 winners capture how CDC works around-the-clock to protect people at home and abroad from health and safety threats.  Take a minute to look at the winning photos, read their captions, and see public health come to life. 

CDC and Partners are Helping Haiti Recover, Rebuild, and Improve Public Health for Millions

Categories: Emergency Preparedness & Response, Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

Photos courtesy of CDC Foundation

In January 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that killed thousands of people, left millions homeless, and significantly damaged the country’s already fragile infrastructure, including its health system. In this guest blog post, Dr. John Vertefeuille, country director for CDC Haiti, discusses how he is cautiously optimistic about improvements in Haiti’s public health since the earthquake. (This post is an abbreviated version of Dr. Vertefeuille and colleagues’ commentary published in The Lancet on January 15, 2013.)   

Be sure to also check out CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden’s latest Director’s Briefing video on Haiti, which highlights how CDC, CDC Foundation, and other critical partners are helping Haiti recover and build back better. New office space for Haiti’s Minister of Health and the Ministry’s surveillance, epidemiology, and laboratory staff are allowing critical public health work to continue, protecting people in Haiti and abroad from health threats. After all, diseases know no borders.

8 Things You Should Know About this Year’s Flu

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

A sneeze in progress

This year’s flu season hit the U.S. early and hard, with most of the country now experiencing high levels of flu activity. The flu should not be taken lightly – it sends, on average, 200,000 Americans to the hospital each year and kills thousands to tens of thousands of people depending on the severity of the season. CDC wants to make sure people know how to reduce their risk of getting sick – or if they are sick, when to seek medical care and how to avoid spreading germs to others.

Here are eight things you should know about this year’s flu:

1. The flu is here and it’s severely impacting seniors.

While the 2011-2012 flu season began late and was mild compared to previous seasons, the 2012-2013 flu season started early and is hitting hard – especially people who are age 65 or older. People in this age group are most likely to get seriously ill, be hospitalized, and die from flu. In addition, this year’s predominant flu virus is influenza A (H3N2), which can cause more serious illness compared to other subtypes.

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