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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.

CDC Looks Ahead: 13 Public Health Issues in 2013

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

As America’s health protection agency, CDC works around-the-clock to save lives and protect people from health threats, whether they start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, are curable or preventable, or are the result of human error or deliberate attack.

Here’s a look at 13 public health issues CDC is working on for you in 2013:

1. Healthcare-Associated Infections: Protecting Patients, Saving Lives

More than 1 million Americans get a healthcare-associated infection during the course of their medical care, which accounts for billions of dollars in excess healthcare costs. CDC is working toward the elimination of healthcare-associated infections across all settings. CDC continues to target untreatable drug resistant infections that threaten patient safety and, in early 2013, will be releasing updated national and state numbers on healthcare-associated infections prevention in U.S. hospitals. (Above photo: CDC scientist Alicia Shams demonstrating K. pneumoniae growth on a MacConkey agar plate.)

When Science Inspires: CDC Foundation Partners with Art Students on Project to Convey CDC’s Life-Saving Work

Categories: Public Health Partners

In 2012, the CDC Foundation partnered with students at Atlanta’s Portfolio Center on a project to convey CDC’s life-saving work through art. The following blog post is from one of those students, Danielle DePiper. Project photos are courtesy of another student, Chris Yoon. For additional photos, check out the CDC Foundation’s Facebook page.

Students at the Portfolio Center are in the business of being creative. We practice getting inspired every day – sometimes inspiration comes from old postcards, sometimes a line from a movie and, sometimes, we find inspiration in the unexpected. 

13 Ways CDC Has Been There for America and the World in 2012

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

Photo of Hurricane Sandy courtesy of NASA

CDC has America’s back. We work around-the-clock to protect Americans from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic. We also help people lead longer, healthier, more productive lives by preventing heart attacks, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other leading causes of death.

Here’s a list of 13 ways CDC has been there for America and the world in 2012:

1. Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

CDC, in collaboration with state and local health departments and the Food and Drug Administration, is investigating a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections among patients who received contaminated preservative-free MPA steroid injections from New England Compounding Center. Several patients suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infections. The investigation also includes other infections from injections in a peripheral joint, such as a knee, shoulder, or ankle. Read the CDC Works for You 24/7 blog post, The Critical Role of State Health Depts. in the U.S. Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: 4 Key Efforts.

Quick and Affordable Test is Saving Lives in Areas Still Ravaged by “Black Death”

Categories: Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs

The terrain of the plague-endemic region of Uganda

CDC scientists are developing better ways of detecting the world’s most deadly diseases. In this guest blog post, Dr. Paul Mead, a medical epidemiologist with the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD) at CDC, explains how he and a team of scientists are using a quick and affordable handheld test to detect plague in patients in a matter of minutes – critical for such a rapidly fatal disease.

This tool – developed by Dr. Marty Schriefer and his team at DVBD – is being used in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and village leaders to save lives in rural Uganda, where laboratories for diagnosing diseases like plague are rare. In addition to improving the diagnosis and treatment of plague in communities still ravaged by the disease, DVBD is evaluating ways to prevent human plague altogether by reducing exposure to rats and their disease-causing fleas.

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