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Selected Category: health security

DPDx: 15 Years of Strengthening Laboratory Capacity for Parasitic Disease Diagnosis

Categories: health security, parasitic diseases

 

CDC’s DPDx helps labs around the world identify parasites like Taenia saginata. (Photo courtesy of David Snyder/CDC Foundation)

CDC’s DPDx helps labs around the world identify parasites like Taenia saginata. (Photo courtesy of David Snyder/CDC Foundation)

The inquiries and images come from almost every state in the United States, and often with a sense of urgency. Still others arrive from Argentina and Germany, Italy, Japan, China, New Zealand, India—and dozens more countries around the globe. Each time the question for CDC’s parasite identification laboratory, known as DPDx, is the same: What is it?

Alexandre J. da Silva, PhD, CDC DPDx

Alexandre J. da Silva, PhD, CDC DPDx

The diagnostic parasitology experts on CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria’s DPDx team provide answers.

DPDx is the effective merger of technology, laboratory science, and CDC’s unparalleled expertise in parasite identification and the diseases they cause.

DPDx is a unique online educational resource that includes visual depictions of parasite lifecycles, a reference library of free images of parasites, and guidance on proper laboratory techniques for diagnostic parasitology. But it is much more than a Web site.

The primary role of DPDx is reference diagnosis, wherein CDC laboratory scientists confirm diagnoses or discover that the diagnosis is something altogether different from what was originally thought. In both cases, but especially in the latter cases, DPDx impacts treatment. For example, Babesia microti is one of the parasites that cause the tick-borne disease babesiosis; it can be misidentified as Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria. The two diseases require different treatments and on many occasions, the DPDx team has corrected a misdiagnosis, ensuring that the patient is appropriately treated.

Strengthening Global Health Security Protects Americans

Categories: HIV/AIDS, flu, health security, infectious disease, malaria, parasitic diseases

 

This blog was originally posted on CNN.com on February 13, 2014.

 

The 5 Ways Diseases in Other Countries Can Kill You

The world is smaller and people are more mobile than at any time in history. This makes it easier than ever for what’s happening anywhere on the globe to harm Americans’ health. 
 
Here are five ways diseases in other countries pose a threat:

1) The flu could threaten millions. Even in a mild year for flu, in the United States alone, there are thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and billions of dollars in productivity losses.
 
In a pandemic, millions of people worldwide could be killed. H7N9 influenza, also known as bird flu, is spreading in China, though fortunately it has not mutated to become an infectious disease outbreak that could threaten the health of people around the world.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

2) Antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Antibiotic resistance just might be the most urgent health threat facing us now.

The nightmare strain of bacteria known as CRE, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, arose abroad and was introduced to one state in the United States. Now it’s in at least 44 states. It can resist all or almost all antibiotics, kills many of the people who get it in their blood, and spreads its resistance capabilities to other bacteria.

The World Health Organization estimates multidrug-resistant tuberculosis already has infected a half a. million people across the globe.

Improving Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Response in the Latin American and Caribbean Region through the Field Epidemiology Training Program

Categories: health security, health systems strengthening, infectious disease, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)

 

FETP residents taking water sample to test for cholera (2013)

FETP residents taking water sample to test for cholera (2013)

Dr. Victor Caceres, CDC Field Epidemiology Training Program Branch

Dr. Victor Caceres, CDC Field Epidemiology Training Program Branch

With increased global travel, everyone is more vulnerable to emerging and reemerging public health threats. This vulnerability is why every country needs a team of highly trained epidemiologists that can detect and rapidly respond to outbreaks and is why CDC is committed to working with countries to establish and support Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) all over the world including the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.

For the last three years, CDC has been working with the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health (MoH), in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, to strengthen basic and intermediate-level training capacity for epidemiologists and laboratory personnel as part of the three-tiered “pyramid” training model developed and implemented by countries in Central America. 

Fresh Voices From the Field: Building Partnerships for Global Health Security in Vietnam

Categories: flu, health security

Lauren Anderson (right) and Wayne Lowe (Department of Defense/Defense Threat Reduction Agency) are behind the scenes observing emergency response activities during a joint project exercise involving the U.S. CDC and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health.

Lauren Anderson (right) and Wayne Lowe (Department of Defense/Defense Threat Reduction Agency) are behind the scenes observing emergency response activities during a joint project exercise involving the U.S. CDC and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health.

This is the sixth in our ongoing “Fresh Voices From the Field” series, where we hear from ASPPH (Association of School and Programs of Public Health) Global Health Fellows working throughout the world. Global Health Fellows are recent Master of Public Health or Doctoral graduates placed in CDC global health offices in Atlanta and abroad. They work on a range of priority public health issues and bring a fresh perspective to CDC’s efforts in the field. (See other “Fresh Voices” blogs.) 

  

Lauren Anderson, ASPPH Program Management Fellow

Lauren Anderson, ASPPH Program Management Fellow

As part of a joint project exercise, the U.S. CDC and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health pretended there were suspect cases of avian influenza A (H7N9) and coronaviruses that surfaced in Vietnam. Then CDC and Vietnamese experts convened to observe Vietnam’s public health machinery spring to life. 

Calls were made; emails were sent; samples were collected and laboratories began testing. The Ministry of Health was notified of the pending emergency. They performed several different types of analyses, compared the results to seasonal trends, and practiced reporting out to decision-making bodies. A strategically organized effort to contain and prevent additional cases was in full swing. 

The Value of CDC’s Work in Thailand

Categories: HIV/AIDS, global disease detection, health security, health systems strengthening, infectious disease, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), refugee health, tuberculosis (TB), violence and injury

 

Thai monk

 

When I became country director in 2013 the relationships between Thailand’s public health officials and CDC were already strong and well established.

Mitch Wolfe, MD MPH, Director, CDC-Thailand

Mitch Wolfe, MD MPH, Director, CDC-Thailand

That wasn’t surprising. CDC’s collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, after all, began 30 years ago and the partnership has been prospering  – and expanding – ever since. And there is a strong history between the two countries – this year Thailand and the US are celebrating 180 years of Friendship.

The reasons are well established too. And numerous.

Last summer, while visiting family, I was asked by a U.S. border guard, “Why is America working abroad for public health?” I was happy to get this question, as it was an opportunity to deepen understanding for why CDC works abroad – to protect Americans from health threats, to build important relationships with strategic partners, and to learn lessons that can be expanded to other parts of the world.

A Layer of Protection: CDC Partners With Vietnam to Strengthen Global Health Security

Categories: health security

 

Dr. Scott Dowell meets with Vietnam public health officials during their emergency operations center training and shares his vision for global health security.

Dr. Scott Dowell meets with Vietnam public health officials during their emergency operations center training and shares his vision for global health security.

 

Vietnam is taking remarkable strides to modernize the way it protects public health and responds to disease outbreaks. I saw the progress first-hand during a recent trip there to review our joint activities to strengthen Global Health Security.

Scott Dowell, MD, MPH, RADM, USPHS

Scott Dowell, MD, MPH, RADM, USPHS

Over the last seven months CDC has been working closely with the Vietnam Ministry of Health to increase global health security. Our efforts focus on improving Vietnam’s ability to detect disease outbreaks earlier, prevent diseases from spreading, and respond rapidly and effectively to national and international public health emergencies.

Though more work remains, what I saw during my trip confirms the close partnership between Vietnam and CDC. The progress we have made together is encouraging, and I am confident that we will be able to help Vietnam be better prepared and respond even better and faster when there is a disease outbreak.

Uganda Makes Impressive Progress on Health

Categories: HIV/AIDS, global disease detection, health security, health systems strengthening, mosquito-borne disease, women's/maternal health

 

This blog was originally posted in the Huffington Post on August 8, 2013.

 

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden peers into Python Cave.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden peers into Python Cave.

Last month I was in Uganda. As I planned for this trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Uganda is the only country served by the president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with a rising HIV incidence; I anticipated that there might be problems.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

What I saw instead was impressive progress.

Although Uganda will have challenges for many years as a result of increased HIV infections over the past decade, and has much more to do, I was struck by how much headway they’ve made in the past couple of years. The country has scaled up lifesaving anti-HIV treatment as well as voluntary medical male circumcisions, which sharply reduce the chance of becoming infected.

While in Uganda, I got to peer into a cave — the same cave where two tourists got Marburg virus in 2007. This deadly virus, similar to Ebola, was unknown in this location until identified by CDC staff.

This is Python Cave — and I was awed to see the python, which is at least 12 feet long and 24

CDC in Thailand: Working abroad for global health security

Categories: HIV/AIDS, child health, health security, health systems strengthening, refugee health, women's/maternal health

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

Last week I traveled with the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to visit our office in Thailand and to see first-hand examples of our successful collaboration with Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), other health-related government and public agencies, and other USG agencies. Secretary Sebelius was deeply impressed by the CDC programs she saw. 

CDC’s partnership with Thailand’s MoPH began more than 30 years ago with Thailand’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), a program that trains field epidemiologists (disease detectives) and public health leaders to detect, investigate, and rapidly respond to outbreaks. Similar to FETP programs around the world, FETP residents have become the country’s boots on the ground in the battle to protect public health. They investigate and control disease outbreaks by conducting essential disease surveillance. They also lead many of the nation’s key health and public health entities, including the organization that oversees Thailand’s universal health care coverage organization.

Global Health Security

Categories: health security, health systems strengthening, immunization

Scott Dowell, MD, MPH, RADM, USPHS

Scott Dowell, MD, MPH, RADM, USPHS

Ten years ago this month, I was living in Bangkok, Thailand when the world was stunned by the spread of sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). At that time, I was helping to establish the first International Emerging Infections Program with a small group of CDC and Thai colleagues. We saw first-hand the effects of SARS on our patients and our friends, the fear it created in the general public, and the cost to economies throughout Asia. Since then, we have experienced the H5N1 bird flu virus spread, the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic, and numerous other global disease outbreaks.

Global health security aims to protect Americans and others around the world from emerging infectious disease outbreaks – whether natural, intentional, or accidental. Through strategic investments in basic public health systems including effective and adequate laboratories, information systems, trained personnel, and effective response strategies, effective control of epidemics is possible. We have seen it happen.

 
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