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Sharing our stories on preparing for and responding to public health events

Selected Category: Disease Outbreak

Mapping for Ebola: A Collaborative Effort

Categories: Disease Investigation, Disease Outbreak, General, Preparedness, Public Health, Response

Map of AfricaOne of the difficulties faced by teams responding to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is identifying individuals and communities residing in remote areas. Existing maps of these regions either do not exist or are inadequate or outdated. This means that basic data like location of houses, buildings, villages, and roads are not easily accessible, and case finding and contact tracing can be extremely difficult.

To help aid the outbreak response effort, volunteers from around the world are using an open-source online mapping platform called OpenStreetMap (OSM) to create detailed maps and map data of  Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and parts of Mali.

On the Ground in Nigeria: Ebola Response

Categories: Disease Outbreak, Response

Nigeria volunteers

By Lisa Esapa, CDC-Nigeria

For the last few months, there has been a constant buzz about Ebola among my friends and colleagues in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Everyone had a theory about if, when, or how Ebola would come to Nigeria. When we heard about a probable case in Lagos, my heart sank. Lagos is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with a population of 15 to 20 million people. Lagos is crowded and loud, with sprawling slum areas that occupy the spaces between the river banks, markets, and developed areas. The stakes for stopping this outbreak from spreading are incredibly high.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

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

Busy Gym Testing for TB

When the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) in Virginia put out a call for volunteers to help conduct a tuberculosis (TB) contact investigation, Rosalia Parada, a long time Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer, jumped at the chance to serve her community.  The investigation was sparked when news of three students from Robert E. Lee High School acquired TB around the same time.

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.

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