Categories: Ebola, global disease detection, global health security, health systems strengthening, infectious disease
August 11th, 2014 9:39 am ET -
This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post on August 7, 2014.
(AP Photo/Michael Duff)
CDC and our partners are currently fighting the biggest and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease ever recorded.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden
There are hundreds of cases in West Africa and now a new cluster of cases in Nigeria is very concerning. The spread of Ebola shows what happens if we don’t have meticulous infection control, contact tracing, and proper isolation of those with symptoms of the disease.
There are two things that are very important to understand about how Ebola spreads.
The evidence suggests that Ebola only spreads from sick people—not from people who have been exposed to the disease but haven’t yet become sick from it. The illness has an average 8-10 day incubation period, although in rare instances the incubation period may be as short as two days or as long as 21 days, which is why we recommend monitoring for 21 days after any potential exposure.
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Categories: global disease detection, global health security, health systems strengthening, infectious disease
July 8th, 2014 12:10 pm ET -
With the World Cup underway in all its frenzied glory, you can be forgiven for missing another major effort currently underway in Brazil that represents the first large scale, real-life, real-world test of important new technology.
And no, it’s not the goal-line technology that’s being used for the first time at soccer’s biggest competition.
This technology uses computer tablets, sophisticated software designed by CDC and public health experts from Brazil’s Ministry of Health (MOH) trained in the Field Epidemiological Training Program (FETP) to provide the most complete, detailed and timely information about disease threats and other public health concerns.
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Categories: child health, immunization, polio
June 27th, 2014 3:38 pm ET -
A Bugagi child travels by camel near Lake Chad in Borno State, Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Thomas Moran/WHO.
Victoria Gammino, PhD, MPH, Epidemiologist, CDC Global Immunization Division
Geospatial data have been used in public health since John Snow mapped cholera cases around the Broad Street water pump during the London cholera epidemic of 1854. And, while global positioning system technologies (GPS) are so ubiquitous in the United States that virtually all new smartphones, tablets and cars have this technology embedded, in many areas of the world, health care workers in the field are often without the most basic two-dimensional paper maps.
So what do maps and map literacy have to do with polio? Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. Therefore, the strategy to eradicate polio is based on preventing infection by immunizing every child to stop transmission of the virus that causes polio, and ultimately make the world polio free. The four pillars of polio eradication all rely on “microplans”— detailed logistical blueprints that guide the planning and implementation of vaccination campaigns, routine immunization outreach, and surveillance for polio cases by providing critical data on the size and location of the target population in a given geographic area. These target population numbers determine the amount of vaccine required, the number of health care workers and supervisors to deliver the vaccine, and the cost of transportation to get the vaccine and health care workers where they need to go.
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Categories: infectious disease, refugee health
June 20th, 2014 10:50 am ET -
A child plays with a kite in a tent camp after the earthquake, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2010.
For anybody wondering why CDC has a branch dedicated to helping refugees or why the United Nations has formally recognized World Refugee Day every year since it was created in 2001, the answer can be found in a single, stark statistic: In 2013, a person became a new refugee or internally displaced person every 4.1 seconds.
Michelle Dynes, PhD, MPH, MSN, CNM, RN, EIS Officer/Epidemiologist, CDC Emergency Response and Recovery Branch
Cyrus Shahpar, MD, MBA, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist, CDC Emergency Response and Recovery Branch
That translates to “a population of concern” of nearly 40 million refugees or internally displaced people worldwide every year, according to the United Nations.
It also translates to a lot of illnesses and suffering. And that’s the reason Cyrus Shahpar, Michelle Dynes and approximately 50 other staff in CDC’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (Division of Global Health Protection) have their bags packed and are constantly ready to deploy to the field.
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Categories: global health security, infectious disease
June 11th, 2014 10:26 am ET -
During the simulation exercise, ECN trainees deployed to the site of a mock disaster in Avully, Switzerland.
Gaya Gamhewage, MD, Coordinator, WHO Communication Capacity Building Team; Founder, WHO Emergency Communication Network
That’s not a new idea. Many of us have learned this the hard way. This concept is being applied in a new, more comprehensive way for a key purpose—to help the World Health Organization (WHO) communicate more effectively, with more clarity and purpose during humanitarian and public health emergencies.
The idea is to better integrate communications specialists from WHO, CDC, ministries of health and a wide array of other humanitarian and global health organizations into a cohesive, specially trained team that can be dispatched on short notice when public health or humanitarian emergencies occur.
The logic is based on the idea that communications is part and parcel of emergency health response. Communicating in a crisis not only provides the public and policy maker clear and critical information, it also can help the technical side of the response. It connects those affected with those willing to help and can make sure that resources are aligned to the most important needs.
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Categories: child health, immunization, infectious disease, refugee health
June 5th, 2014 4:42 pm ET -
CAR refugees forced from their homes by rebels
Dr. Els Mathieu, Resident Advisor, CAR- FELTP
The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked country in Central Africa, bordered by Chad in the north, Sudan in the northeast, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south and Cameroon in the west. CAR is one of the world’s least developed nations and has experienced several periods of political instability, as well as deadly attacks and violence by rebels that have forced nearly 1 million people from their homes in search of refuge. With so many civilians fleeing to refugee camps in the capital, Bangui, and the provinces, there is an increased need to strengthen disease surveillance and response.
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Categories: child health, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), women's/maternal health
May 12th, 2014 11:05 am ET -
As we celebrate families on Mother’s Day, May 11, and the International Day of Families, May 15, I am especially proud to work in CDC’s Center for Global Health. As one of the Center’s health communication specialists, I have the privilege to write or edit many stories about how CDC’s programs impact the lives of families around the world. In honor of this season, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite accounts about brave mothers, determined families, and CDC’s global health programs.
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Categories: health systems strengthening, malaria
April 24th, 2014 4:11 pm ET -
One thing is to read a protocol, and quite another to write a protocol, do the field work, and see it through to the end" - Geraldo Chambe, FELTP resident
Four Mozambican epidemiologists-in-training spent a month walking up to ten kilometers a day to make sure that one of the most effective malaria control interventions was reaching the poorest Mozambicans. Malaria is the leading cause of death in Mozambique, and insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the key malaria control measures. Since 2007, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has supported the Mozambican Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in efforts to reduce the burden of malaria in the country, not only through distribution of bed nets, but other key components as well: indoor residual spraying, diagnostic testing and treatment with effective antimalarials, and intermittent preventive therapy for pregnant women.
Mateusz Plucinski, PhD, MPH, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Malaria Branch
In 2013, with PMI support, the NMCP launched a universal bed net distribution campaign in six districts in Nampula Province, located in the northern region of Mozambique. The goal was to provide access to a bed net to the entire population living in the 250,000 households within the target area. The definition of “universal” varies somewhat by country; in Mozambique it means one bed net for every sleeping space. Mass distribution campaigns meant to achieve universal coverage are ambitious, complex, multi-step activities. They involve visiting all households in the distribution area to perform a census, determining how many bed nets to distribute per household, and organizing the logistics of delivering hundreds of thousands of bed nets to remote areas. It is therefore important to evaluate their performance and determine how successful they were in achieving their goal so that lessons learned can inform planning for the next campaign. And for the NMCP, it is important to document how increased bed net ownership and use made possible by campaigns affect malaria transmission.
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Categories: child health, immunization, infectious disease, measles
April 21st, 2014 11:39 am ET -
In 2002, I was in Maracaibo, Venezuela assisting with the investigation of the last measles outbreak in South America when the news arrived: Ministers of health from the region agreed that a synchronized week of vaccination in the hemisphere would help prevent future outbreaks and increase access to immunization for many who would miss this opportunity. The idea of Vaccination Week in the Americas ignited 12 years ago and is now a global initiative: World Immunization Week! Since 2003, more than 465 million people in the Americas have been vaccinated under the framework that emerged from the original idea of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), which takes place the last week in April every year.
Carla Lee, MA, Public Health Advisor, CDC Global Immunization Division
VWA is truly a collaborative effort led by countries and territories of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) to improve equity and access to vaccination for families. VWA activities strengthen the national immunization programs in the Americas by reaching out to families with little access to routine immunization programs. The focus is to find people living in urban peripheries, rural and border areas and in indigenous or other hard-to-reach communities and offer them vaccines.
The work has saved lives.
The Region of the Americas encompasses the entire Western Hemisphere (from Canada in the very north all the way down to the southern tip of South America, and all the countries in between), was certified polio-free in 1994. It interrupted the spread of indigenous measles in 2002 and rubella in 2009. However, globally these viruses are still circulating. A huge global sporting event – the World Cup— takes place in Brazil this summer, attracting millions of travelers from around the world. That adds a new element of risk, increasing the risk of importation of vaccine-preventable diseases into the Americas. In light of the World Cup, VWA will highlight the importance of vaccination to protect the health of the people of the Americas, using slogans like “Vaccination: Your best shot,” and “Go on offense: Get vaccinated!”
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Categories: child health, infectious disease, malaria, mosquito-borne disease, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), parasitic diseases
April 7th, 2014 8:39 am ET -
April 7 marks World Health Day. This year World Health Day focuses on vector-borne diseases. More than half the world is at risk from vector-borne diseases. What exactly is a vector? A vector is a small organism, like a tick or mosquito, that transmits disease. Malaria, dengue, Chagas Disease and lymphatic filariasis are just four examples of vector-borne infectious diseases.
Come learn about some of these vector-borne diseases and the work that CDC does to prevent, treat, and control these diseases around the world.
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