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New Year’s Resolution: Be Ready

Categories: General, Preparedness

close up of a clock at midnight with confetti and ribbons

We all make resolutions for the New Year, lose weight, read more, learn a new skill. Well this year why not make one of your resolutions to be ready? 2011 was full of devastating emergencies, from the Mississippi River flooding to the more than 343 tornados that tore through the Southeast. Just a few simple steps can ensure that you’re ready for anything. To help you be more prepared in 2012, we’ll be posting 31 days of preparedness. Follow our blog and Twitter feed (@CDCReady) for a tip each day.

Real-life Contagion: Part 2

Categories: Disease Investigation, General, Response, Vectorborne

picture of a newspaper ad over a picture of patients in a makeshift hospital ward

By Tyler M. Sharp, PhD

Before we left off in Part 1 I had just gotten on a boat to visit a small atoll in the Marshall Islands affected by the dengue outbreak…

Man holding lab equipment in his hand while several other people look on

Establishing surveillance on the outer islands included monitoring for dengue-like symptoms and testing with a rapid diagnostic test, demonstrated here

A few days earlier we had identified a small cluster of cases on Arno, a small atoll about 30 miles from Majuro. I traveled by boat to Arno where I was able to provide clinical education, help the health assistants set up surveillance, and teach them how to use the dengue rapid diagnostic test. The hours on the boat gave me plenty of time to relax, think, and plan my next move: something that I probably would not have done if I had stayed in Majuro. Luckily, my WHO colleague had much more experience in emergency management than I, and he had done an excellent job of getting things under control back at the hospital.

Real-life Contagion: Governments unite to fight dengue outbreak in Marshall Islands

Categories: Disease Investigation, General, Vectorborne

picture of a newspaper ad over a picture of patients in a makeshift hospital ward

By Tyler M. Sharp, PhD

The whole thing was straight out of a movie.  An outbreak of dengue fever on a small island chain in the middle of the Pacific. A local government requesting assistance to control the outbreak.  In the end, CDC, the US Department of Defense, the World Health Organization (WHO), USAID, local governments as well as those of Taiwan, Japan and Australia were involved in the response. If we were going to succeed in our mission, we all had to communicate and work together. Amazingly, through concerted teamwork over many long days, we ultimately worked as one unit and beat the outbreak. 

Top 7 Disaster Songs Countdown

Categories: General, Preparedness

 

By Regina Quadir

Most artists may not have had preparedness in mind, but these top 7 title tracks remind us of some events that we should always be prepared for.

Check out our top 7 disaster tracks:

Stepping Up to Take Down Polio

Categories: General, Polio, Response

Men painting billboard for polio vaccination campaign

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that is completely preventable. Since 1988, members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), including CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary, and UNICEF, have teamed up to eradicate polio world-wide through large scale vaccination efforts. Global polio cases are down more than 99% since GPEI began. We were able to completely eradicate the disease in the Americas by 1994 and protect our children. By 2006, polio was endemic in only four countries:  Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Despite our advances, this debilitating and deadly disease continues to afflict children from the poorest communities.

On Friday, December 2 CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center for a period of 18-24 months to support the final effort to eradicate polio, a public health emergency.

Ticket for Two – International travel during pregnancy

Categories: General

 Pregnant woman and priority parking sign

By Stacie Dunkle

“We don’t recommend international travel during pregnancy for first-time mothers,” said my nurse midwife. Those words stopped me in my tracks. As an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service with three years of experience working overseas, I couldn’t believe what this nurse was telling me. Rarely a month went by that I wasn’t waiting in a security line at the airport. “Why?” I asked. I was up-to-date on all of my vaccines, even yellow fever, which I knew shouldn’t be given during pregnancy, and I was well-practiced in methods for staying healthy in developing countries (wearing seatbelts and avoiding untreated drinking water, food from street vendors, raw vegetables, etc.). I began to wonder how I was going to break the news to my supervisor that I wouldn’t be able to conduct the investigation we were planning in Nepal in two weeks. We had been preparing for over a month. Our colleagues on the ground were ready to go, and my plane tickets were already booked.

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