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

The Great Flood of 2011, Thailand: A Firsthand Account

Categories: Natural Disasters

city view

By Regina Quadir

Thailand has a tropical climate with monsoon rains that come every summer. In 2011, the rains were unusually heavy, with a sequence of typhoons sweeping across southeast Asia. Regions of Thailand are now experiencing the worst floods in over fifty years, as water immerses villages, farms, and factories. The volume of water is so vast that more than half the country has already been flooded.

Teachable Moments – Courtesy of The Walking Dead on AMC

Categories: General, Preparedness, Zombies

Cast of The Walking Dead on AMC By Maggie Silver

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably figured out we’re big fans of zombies. While we know zombies are fictional, they tie in so well with another topic we’re deeply invested in, emergency preparedness, that it seems like a perfect match for us! Being true zombie fans, we love The Walking Dead on AMC, so much so that we’ve looked past the fact that they blew us up at the end of the first season and we assure you that our work here at the CDC continues.

Since the second season is set to premiere on Sunday, February 12, we thought we’d take a quick look back at what’s happened so far, and give the survivors who are struggling in the post-apocalyptic world featured in The Walking Dead, a few pointers in preparedness.

HANDI – A Handy App for Public Health

Categories: Disease Investigation, General, Response

2 phones lying on table

By Melissa McClung, MSPH
Denver Public Health

The next person in line hands me their driver’s license.  I scan it with a device docked with my iPod touch, ask some questions, print a barcoded sticker, and direct them to where they need to go.  Are we at the airport?  Car rental?  Sports venue?  None of the above!  We are at a mass vaccination clinic administering flu shots during a hospital employee flu campaign.  This handy tool is appropriately named HANDI (Hand-held Automated Notification for Drugs and Immunizations); it’s a mobile app being developed by Denver Public Health (DPH).  HANDI helps health care workers collect data to register individuals, monitor contraindications (reasons to withhold a treatment) and track immunizations and treatment plans administered during mass intervention events.  Using commonly available mobile devices (e.g., iPhone, iPod touch), HANDI is a prime example of how we can use mobile technology in public health and emergency preparedness.

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. 

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