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The Truth is Out There: What You Need to Know About Bats

Categories: Vectorborne

Even though bats can spread diseases to people, they also benefit people in many ways and are usually able to peacefully exist alongside humans.

Even though bats can spread diseases to people, they also benefit people in many ways and are usually able to peacefully exist alongside humans.

Warm weather is here, and you know what that means — more people are headed outdoors. You might even be involved in summertime activities that take you into places such as woods, forests and caves. But you might not know about the risks associated with an animal often found in these areas: bats.

Sweet Relief: Public Health Efforts in Haiti

Categories: Response

A boy stands amid the rubble of a building

When I started working at CDC as a laboratory research scientist, one of the things that interested my supervisor was my ability to speak French, a skill I learned during a postdoctoral research position in Montpellier, France. This was because we had various projects in French-speaking countries. For me, having the opportunity to use my scientific skills and my French language skills to make a difference became a very rewarding experience. 

Several years later, I’m fortunate to continue having such experiences. I recently traveled with a team of CDC colleagues to Haiti, where again I was able to use those talents for the benefit of others.

Shoot for the goal! Stay safe and healthy during the World Cup in South Africa this summer

Categories: Preparedness, Prevention/Vaccination

 World Cup 2010 Banner

Planning on going to the World Cup in South Africa this summer?  If so, you are not alone.  FIFA, the organization in charge of the international soccer competition, is expecting about 373,000 people from around the world to converge in South Africa to be a part of the 19th World Cup – the first to be hosted in Africa.  From June 11 to July 11, visitors to South Africa can expect enthusiasm, excitement, and yes, a few crowds.

Whether you are traveling alone or with a team, friends, or family, we want to make sure you aren’t sidelined from the excitement of the matches with illness or injury.  With careful preparation, you can reduce your chances of getting sick or hurt while away.  Remember the following tips before, during, and after your trip to South Africa:

A Primer on E. coli O145: A Little Contaminated Lettuce and a Lot of Different Os

Categories: Foodborne

Head of lettuce in colander next to sink with running water

Here is a quick summary of the recent Escherichia coli O145 outbreak associated with Romaine lettuce, and it highlights the amazingly quick FDA actions to prevent additional disease:

• On April 16th, public health authorities recognized an outbreak of bloody diarrhea at a university in Michigan that was later confirmed as being due to E. coli O145. The outbreak was subsequently linked to other similar school-based clusters in Ohio and New York.
• On April 27th, preliminary information linked these illnesses to a common supplier of Romaine lettuce.
• By the next day, April 28th, FDA had determined that the implicated production lots of Romaine lettuce were produced in late March from a single farm and accounted for all of the illnesses. These implicated lots were no longer in commerce, and no recall was necessary.
• Subsequent laboratory investigations of Romaine lettuce showed at least intermittent contamination on later production days from the processor and triggered preemptive recalls of first a single contaminated lot and then all production from the implicated farm. No illness has been associated with these later lots of recalled lettuce.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 3, Long Days, Tedious Work, But So Rewarding

Categories: Polio

A mother waits while vaccine is drawn for her child at a field clinic in Ghana.

A mother waits while vaccine is drawn for her child at a field clinic in Ghana.

Note: This is Ted’s final posting about his experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010. He returned home on May 1.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — Ghana is broken into a number of regions, and I was deployed to three of them. After a brief introductory period in Accra (the capital), I left for Takoradi and the Western Region. There I headed north along the Cote D’Ivoire border, where I spent the next month. I then returned to the Greater Accra Region for a month and then finished my time in the field in Volta, along the Togo border.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 2, People Here are Resourceful, Generous

Categories: Polio

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

Note: This is the second in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — During my time here in Ghana, I’ve met some wonderful public health people who are earnestly trying to make a difference. Outside of Accra, the things we take for granted are often missing. In many clinics, there is no electricity, running water, or physicians. The clinics are run by a nurse or midwife, and they generally live on site and are available 24/7 for all the community’s medical needs. They have a large book of protocols, and when people come in, they make a diagnosis, refer to their protocols, and then administer treatment. They are very friendly and dedicated staff and work under what most of us would describe as unacceptable circumstances.

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