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


CDC Responds to Earthquake, Tsunami, and Radiation Release in Japan

Categories: Natural Disasters, Response

Photo courtesy US Navy: An upended house among debris in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture in Japan on March 15, 2011.

On March 11, CDC immediately activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Atlanta to respond to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami and radiation release in Japan. CDC continues to closely monitor the effects of this disaster and is focused on making sure it is ready to support any requests that come in from Japanese colleagues related to public health.

Haiti Cholera Response: Stories from the Field, Part 3

Categories: Response, Waterborne

Photo by Kendra Helmer/USAID: A woman stands in the hallway as personnel prepare supplies at a Cholera Treatment Center in the Artibonite department of Haiti.

On one beautiful sunny day, we passed by a group of people under an awning. At first, I thought they might be gathering after a church service. Only as we passed did I realize they sat facing a coffin. Fifteen minutes after passing this congregation, we came upon another group of people dressed in white and black. It was a procession carrying yet another coffin through the dusty streets.

At every clinic we visited, we asked what supplies were needed. At every clinic, one of the answers was “more body bags.” [View our Photo and Video Galleries]

Battling Disease Outbreaks in the Big Apple

Categories: General, Response

Over one-third of New York City (NYC) residents are from outside the United States, so in addition to preparing for and responding to numerous indigenous infectious diseases, we also encounter many imported cases, some of which end up causing outbreaks.

Haiti Cholera Response: Stories from the Field, Part 2

Categories: General, Response, Waterborne


Photo by Araceli Rey: View from the car of Haiti’s tent city

Photo by Araceli Rey: View from the car of one of Haiti’s tent cities

When I was in high school I studied French and learned about French-speaking countries. Haiti was one of them, and I always thought that one day I would visit this beautiful country as a vacation destination. I never, ever thought I would be part of a response like the one currently underway in Haiti or that I would see the country in such desperate despair. 

But fate would have it differently. [View our Photo Gallery]

Haiti Cholera Response: Stories from the Field, Part 1

Categories: General, Response, Waterborne

Doctor treating patients at a Cholera Treatment Center in the Artibonite department of Haiti. Photo by Kendra Helmer/USAID

Photo by Kendra Helmer/USAID: Doctor treating patients at a Cholera Treatment Center in the Artibonite department of Haiti.

Cholera has an interesting personality.” That’s what I told my friends when they asked why I was going to Haiti to help with CDC’s cholera outbreak response. Understandably, they were worried I might get sick. Like my friends, most people don’t know much about cholera, so they assume it’s a big, bad bug. And it is. But as I explained to my friends, although cholera is very contagious, you can take some simple steps to prevent it. [View our Photo Gallery]

In The Field with the CEFO Program

Categories: Response

I became a Career Epidemiology Field Officer (CEFO) in July 2008 after accepting an assignment with the North Carolina Division of Public Health in Raleigh.  My initial projects focused on increasing capacity for disaster epidemiology, evaluating communicable disease surveillance, and conducting case, cluster, and outbreak investigations.  These early projects provided great learning experiences, but my most rewarding experience was during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic when my role as CEFO provided an important liaison function between state and federal public health agencies.   During this time, I was appointed Chief of Operations and tasked with overseeing the epidemiology, surveillance, and countermeasures teams.  Even though it was a hectic time I was thrilled to put all my training and past experience to work!

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