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Tornado Survivors Battle Deadly Fungus in Joplin, Missouri

Categories: Natural Disasters, Response

 

hospital sign a midst rubble in Joplin, MO

By Molly Gayden

Disaster Strikes

On May 22, 2011, an F5 Tornado ripped through the heart of Joplin, Missouri, a city of more than 50,000 people. Almost 160 people were killed and thousands of lives were completely uprooted. The tornado damaged more than 7,000 buildings, one third of the city. St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin’s main hospital, was directly in the path of the three-quarter mile wide tornado, with almost 200 patients and even more medical staff inside. The physical and psychological damages the city of Joplin sustained are devastating, as was the traumatic injuries inflicted on many of the residents.   

Borders, Budgets, and the Rising Risk of Disease

Categories: General, Preparedness

Picture overlooking El Paso border with microscopic picture of tuberculosis overlayed

Borders, Budgets, and the Rising Risk of Disease

Is there a perfect storm brewing along our nation’s southern border?  Let’s take a look at the numbers in El Paso, Texas where I recently visited:

  • There are 27 million crossings per year alone at the El Paso Point of Entry (POE)
  • Cuts to federal funding including a 50% reduction in the  Early Warning Infectious Disease Program as well as 12.5% cuts to critical preparedness and response funding;
  •  Texas is second in the nation for number of tuberculosis cases, the majority of which are found near the border  and many of the cases involve tuberculosis strains that are drug resistant
  •  The bordering country, Mexico, was the source of the last global influenza pandemic

So is this a bad situation getting worse or ticking bomb? 

When Preparedness Hits Home

Categories: Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Response

When Preparedness Hits Home

Getting people to think about an emergency before it happens is not always easy. Unfortunately, it usually takes a disaster for people to realize the importance of being prepared. I work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the National Center for Environmental Health where I focus on emergency preparedness. I know all too well the value of making an emergency kit and having a plan, much to the chagrin of my two sons who swear nothing ever happens where we live. But this spring, something did happen and my family was able to see firsthand why I was always trying to get them to think about preparedness.

Vampire Diaries: Getting Back to My Roots Through a Deadly Outbreak

Categories: General, Vectorborne

By Lizette Durand

Dr. Ivan Vargas of the Peruvian Ministry of Health displays a vampire bat captured in Peru.  

Setting the Scene

Last August, villagers in a secluded section of Peru fell prey to blood sucking vampire bats infected with rabies.  It sounds like the premise for the next vampire movie, but this wasn’t a story line thought up in Hollywood, it was the real deal.

Killer Strain: Anthrax

Categories: Anthrax

Killer Strain: Anthrax - blog banner
The possibility of a terrorist attack is a scary thought and a very real danger. Terrorists could attack the American public in many different ways, including a bomb or by releasing a chemical, radiological, or biological agent. A biological attack, or bioterrorism, is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs to cause illness or death in people or animals. Anthrax is the most likely agent to be used in a biological attack. It only takes a small amount to infect a large number of people. It is inexpensively grown from just a few spores and can be engineered to be drug resistant, which means it’s more difficult to treat with antibiotics.

First there were Zombies; then came Hurricanes!

Categories: Natural Disasters, Zombies

Posted by: Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator and Ali S. Khan, Assistant Surgeon General and Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, CDC

Evacuation route panel with stormy sky back drop

With June 1st only days away, FEMA, CDC and the rest of the team are busy preparing for the upcoming hurricane season. And now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, you can start preparing for hurricane season, too. In recognition of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we want to remind you of some simple steps you can take. The same steps that we described in our zombie post (get a kit, make a plan, be informed) are key to getting prepared for a hurricane as well.

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