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Selected Category: Disease Investigation

Rabies Scare Leads to Quick Public Health Action

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, Vectorborne, Zoonotic Disease

Bats

By Jacquelyn Lickness

When a hospital in South Carolina spotted bats flying through its facility, officials sprang into action launching an investigation to prevent a possible rabies outbreak. Because bats are commonly infected with the virus, any contact with the flying mammals is taken very seriously. The hospital quickly involved state public health officials, who then reached out to CDC to help investigate any possible exposure to the rabies virus.

Giving Students First Hand Experience

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, General, Response

Emory students holding up sheets of paper

By Annum Shaikh

We often hear about CDC professionals who are preparing the nation and responding to various public health emergencies. But what about the students who are contributing to these initiatives?

 Close to the CDC campus in Atlanta resides a group that provides students with practical experience in public health emergency preparedness and the opportunity to serve the greater Atlanta community and beyond. The group is Emory University’s Student Outbreak and Response Team, also known as SORT.

Coming (Back) to America? What 2013 Can Teach Us About Dengue in the United States

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, Prevention/Vaccination, Response, Vectorborne

jumbled picture of words related to dengue feverBy Tyler Sharp

2013 was a banner year for dengue in the United States: an outbreak with 22 associated cases was identified in Florida; another outbreak was detected in south Texas along the U.S./Mexico border;  Aedes aegypti, the most efficient mosquito vector of dengue, was detected in central-California; a locally acquired dengue case was detected outside of NYC; and Puerto Rico experienced a sizeable dengue epidemic that had been ongoing  since late 2012.  So, what’s next?  Is this par for the course, or was 2013 an anomaly?  In this blog, I’ll discuss the history of dengue in the U.S., what the future might hold, and what you can do to reduce your risk of getting infected while at home or abroad.

Outbreak of Meningitis Causing Health Officials to Look Overseas for Help

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, General, Prevention/Vaccination

male student walking to university buildingBy Thomas Clark, MD, MPH

This time last year public health officials were grappling with a meningitis outbreak linked to fungus found in tainted medication.  Now officials are trying to rein in a different outbreak of meningitis, more specifically meningococcal disease, popping up on a college campus, including Princeton University.

Just One Breath: How Voices of Valley Fever Were Heard Coast to Coast

Categories: Disease Investigation, General, Preparedness, Prevention/Vaccination

By William Heisel

One year ago, valley fever was a disease that few people outside of Arizona or Central California had heard of.

Caused by breathing in spores from a fungus that grows in the dirt throughout the Southwest, coccidioidomycosis – as it is formally known – can cause serious illness and a painful death. It spreads from the lungs to the bones, skin, and organs. It can cause lifelong pain and disability and require years of expensive medications. If you live in one of the 15 states that are required to report cases of the disease to the CDC, you have a greater chance of getting valley fever than you do AIDS, hepatitis, or Lyme disease.

The Reality of Outbreak Investigations: Dengue in Angola

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, General, Vectorborne

Aerial view of AngolaBy Tyler Sharp and Ryan R. Hemme

Wanna know a secret? Here it is. Chances are, the same reason you’re reading this blog is why many folks at CDC do what they do: a fascination with infectious diseases and a desire to help others. Although the work of CDC employees is frequently glamorized in movies like Outbreak and Contagion, we face the same challenges as any other large, complex organization: communication, logistics, funding, and teamwork. These challenges become especially apparent when outbreaks occur, such as during CDC’s recent response to a dengue outbreak in Angola. Based on our experiences in Angola, this blog will dispel 5 myths about outbreak investigation that are often dramatized by Hollywood.

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