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Public Health Matters Blog

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


Don’t Feed the Animals

Categories: Disease Investigation, Zoonotic Disease

Juvenile zebra standing in safari

When you think of rabies you probably think of stray dogs, bats, or raccoons. CDC staff stationed in Kenya recently learned that when it comes to rabies, it’s not always the usual suspects you have to worry about. This August they were hit with an unusual case of rabies in a baby zebra who had taken up residency at a Kenyan safari lodge. The lodge caters to international tourists from all over the world, and it took a herculean effort by the Kenyan Ministry of Health, CDC, and the World Health Organization to track down everyone who might have been exposed to the deadly disease.

Are You Prepared? Video Contest Winners

Categories: General, Preparedness

woman holding a camera

September was National Preparedness month and CDC asked, “Are You Prepared?” Emergencies affect thousands of people every year. They can include earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, severe heat, and disease outbreaks, just to name a few. Although emergencies are ever-present, many people are not prepared to deal with them. Even though local, state, and federal governments will provide aid, disasters start with you on the front lines. Families, schools, and organizations can ensure that they are prepared should disaster strike by making a plan, gathering necessary supplies, and being informed about the types of disasters that may occur and how to respond to them.


Categories: General, Zombies

Men in Star Wars costumes

It’s Labor Day weekend and Dr. Ali Khan is walking through the halls of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta. To his left, a group of excited superheroes check out each other’s costumes. To his right, a man wearing a top hat peers over his goggles to give directions to Princess Leia. A small fairy tugs on her wings and looks nervously at a couple of zombies nearby.

Anyone who gives Khan a second glance probably assumes that he’s a Star Trek character; with his Commissioned Corps khaki uniform and his “Khan” nametag, he could very easily be trying to conjure up a version of the title character from “The Wrath of Khan.” But Khan is here to talk about something much more thrilling than any number of science fiction scenarios: public health.

Q & A with Max Brooks

Categories: Preparedness, Response, Zombies

Dr. Ali Khan and Max Brooks

Apparently I hit a chord with my readers this May when I posted “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” The initial response was overwhelming, with people of all ages and all walks of life writing and calling to say how much they enjoyed reading the blog and how they were getting prepared for any emergency, whether it be hurricanes, floods, or yes even a zombie apocalypse. The response hasn’t slowed down and that has made me wonder what it is about zombies that is so intriguing? Recently, I had a chance to talk to a veritable zombie expert, Max Brooks, and asked him a few questions about the topic now dear to both our hearts…zombies.

Wildfires: What YOU Need to Know…

Categories: Natural Disasters

Firefighter looking at a wildfire

This summer has been especially hot and dry, which creates an ideal environment for wildfires to ignite. They’ve been flaring up across the country and are a serious threat to people’s health and wellbeing. We all know wildfires can threaten wildlife, property, and our lives, but the smoke produced by these fires is just as devastating.

A Time to Remember

Categories: Anthrax, Preparedness, Response

aerial shot of the twin towers burning

By Captain Tracee Treadwell

Ten years ago, the September 11th tragedies devastated our country and forever changed our lives.  On this anniversary, we remember those we lost, as well as those who worked tirelessly and courageously during the response efforts.  I had the honor of working with these heroic individuals near Ground Zero.  Although a decade has passed, the memories I have of those events are as vivid as if they took place yesterday.

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