Our Global Voices Posts

Continuing the Fight Against Zika

Posted on by Olga L. Henao, MPH, PhD, Epidemiologist
A team in Peru heading out for field work and preparing for mosquito collection.
A team in Peru heading out for field work and preparing for mosquito collection.

Zika virus continues to spread in many countries and territories around the globe. Because there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika, the virus and its associated health outcomes will remain a significant and enduring public health challenge.

The Danger from Zika

Although many people infected with Zika experience mild or no symptoms, infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Areas affected by Zika have also reported increased cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells.

Working together to understand the threat

Experts in CDC’s Global Disease Detection (GDD) program around the world continue their work to track and understand Zika virus. CDC and its global partners – which include ministries of health and agriculture, universities, and U.S. government agencies – are conducting various surveillance and research activities around the world to:

  • Monitor the spread of Zika virus
  • Determine the range of effects of Zika infection during pregnancy
  • Identify potential risk factors for severe Zika-related consequences
  • Evaluate the different tests available to diagnose Zika infection in the field

Although, at this time, animals other than mosquitoes do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus to humans, CDC’s work will also investigate the ecology between Zika-carrying animals, including mosquitoes and people.

These activities are ongoing with multiple CDC country offices. CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection is also collaborating with the Naval Medical Research Unit-Six in Peru and CDC colleagues from the Division of Vector-Borne Disease in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to conduct ecological studies in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.

Critical studies moving forward

CDC’s ongoing surveillance and applied research studies will allow a better understanding of Zika infections, how they are spreading, and where they are occurring.

To date, more than 450 pregnant women have been enrolled in ongoing cohort studies in Guatemala and Kenya. More than 1,000 samples from various animals have been collected for the ecological study; all participating countries have received training on new diagnostic tests for Zika; and surveillance activities have led to detection of Zika cases in various countries.

About CDC’s Global Disease Detection program

CDC’s Global Disease Detection program provides critical surveillance and research data as a foundation for a sustainable global protection strategy. The reach of the GDD network helps countries quickly identify and respond to diseases within their region. GDD surveillance systems focused on one or more diseases or syndromes cover more than 109 million people in 10 countries.

In 2017, the GDD program conducted surveillance at more than 288 unique sites, tracking deadly threats like flu, fevers, and antimicrobial resistance. Below is a snapshot of disease syndromes tracked this year by GDD surveillance systems across the globe.

Posted on by Olga L. Henao, MPH, PhD, Epidemiologist2 CommentsTags , , , ,

IMPACT Program in Kenya: A Fellow’s Experience

Oren (right) with some of his colleagues Dr. Vincent Yator (center) and Athanasio Omondi (left) engage with a International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease facilitator, Dr. Gihan El-Nehas (standing) during a group session.

Many doctors and other health workers in my country have limited background or training in leadership and management, yet they often find themselves in leadership positions. This was my case when I was appointed Sub-County Medical Officer in February 2014. Starting out was no easy task, considering I was more used to clinical work. Here, Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Oren Nyambane Ombiro4 CommentsTags , , ,

Creating Strength in Numbers to End Violence Against Women & Girls

Dr. Daniela Ligiero

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign falls every year between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th, and Human Rights Day on December 10th. It is a time to raise awareness and galvanize global support and action to end violence against women and girls around the Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Daniela Ligiero, Executive Director and CEO, Together for GirlsLeave a commentTags ,

Rubella and CRS Elimination: A Race Worth Winning

AEFI management kit

AEFI Management Kit. Photo credit: Rania Tohme/CDC More than 100,000 children worldwide are born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) every year to mothers infected with the rubella virus. Sadly, these children will suffer a lifetime because of birth defects such as blindness, deafness, and heart disease, even though a cost-effective vaccine is widely available to Read More >

Posted on by Susan Reef, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist and Rubella Team Lead, Global Immunization Division & Gavin Grant, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist, Global Immunization DivisionLeave a commentTags , , ,

Everyone Needs Somewhere to Go: World Toilet Day

Charcoal briquettes manufactured from human waste in East Africa

Charcoal briquettes manufactured from human waste in East Africa (Photo courtesy of Eric Mintz, CDC) We use toilets every day – at home, school, and work – yet 40% of the world’s population does not have this luxury.  Clean and safe toilets are more than just a place to use the restroom.  They are essential Read More >

Posted on by Madison Walter, MPH, CHESLeave a commentTags ,

Overcoming obstacles to polio eradication in Pakistan

Picture of worker distributing polio advocacy items to children.

Originally published on October 5, 2017 on Rotary Voices “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford When I first joined Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee (PNPPC) as a manager close to eight years ago, polio eradication seemed within our reach. I used the opportunity to study poliomyelitis beyond just Read More >

Posted on by Alina A. Visram, manager, Pakistan National PolioPlus CommitteeLeave a commentTags ,

Precision Public Health: Using Malawi Population-Based Impact Assessment (MPHIA) Data to Reach HIV Epidemic Control in Malawi

The Malawi Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA) is Malawi’s first nationally representative HIV survey that measures national HIV incidence, pediatric HIV prevalence, and viral load suppression. MPHIA has provided detailed information on the current status of the HIV epidemic and the uptake of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in Malawi. In his remarks during Read More >

Posted on by Nellie Wadonda-Kabondo and Danielle PayneLeave a commentTags , , , ,

Looking Ahead to a Measles and Rubella Free World

Robert Linkins, MPH, PhD

Vaccines fight diseases and save lives. Think of achievements like smallpox eradication, a polio-free world close at hand, and 2-3 million deaths prevented each year through routine immunizations. Yet despite a safe and effective vaccine against measles and rubella, these deadly viruses continue to steal the health and lives of children all over the world. Read More >

Posted on by Robert Linkins, MPH, PhD1 Comment

Optimistic in the Face of Ongoing Tragedy: Progress toward a World Free of Human Rabies

During her presentation at 2017 PARACON meeting on how to plan and budget for a mass dog vaccination campaign, Emily Pieracci asked who was committed to ending rabies.

Rabies is a fatal disease that kills an estimated 59,000 people each year, almost half of whom are children. The majority of deaths occur in Africa and Asia. All of these deaths are vaccine-preventable with timely administration of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), the shots needed to prevent rabies from developing in bite victims. So why is Read More >

Posted on by Emily PieracciLeave a comment

CDC Global Rapid Response Team Pilots Workshop for Senegal and Burkina Faso

Global Rapid Response Team

Participants to the Rapid Response Team Management workshop, Dakar, Senegal, August 7-11 The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic clearly demonstrated the need for trained scientists who can deploy quickly to confront health threats and ensure global health security. While we often think about the emergency response itself, we typically don’t think about the work that happens behind Read More >

Posted on by Global Rapid Response TeamLeave a comment