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Global Disease Detection: Accomplishments

Outbreak Response

GDD monitors and evaluates the program’s capabilities and progress on a quarterly basis. Five key activities are evaluated using a framework that includes quantitative and qualitative information.
  • Provided rapid response to more than 535 disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies, including H1N1 (all GDD Centers); Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease and Salmonella enteritidis (China); human H5N1 influenza and Q Fever (Egypt); Dengue, respiratory syncytial virus, and febrile encephalitis (Guatemala); anthrax, typhoid fever, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (Kazakhstan); viral hemorrhagic fever, cholera, and polio (Kenya), and meningococcemia and tuberculosis (Thailand).
  • In the first quarter of 2010, the program continued to improve its ability to build country and regional capacity. Outbreak responses are faster (82% received a response within 24 hours of the request for assistance), more comprehensive (71% of outbreaks involved laboratory support, and of those, 100% led to a confirmed cause.)

Pathogen Discovery

  • Discovered 51 new pathogens. These new pathogens were either identified for the first time anywhere in the world, or newly discovered within the GDD Center regions.
  • 160 pathogens can now be identified locally, up from 11 in 2006. Because this capacity had previously been unavailable, it enables sustainable disease detection capability and expedites appropriate response interventions.

Five Centers detected 2009 H1N1 influenza in their region. H1N1 was detected in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Tanzania, and Thailand. Egypt detected Coxiella Burnetii new to their region (detected in Azerbaijan). Guatemala detected Multidrug-resistant Shigella new in their region. Kenya discovered Nodavirus new to the world. Kenya detected Legionella pneumophila and Rickettsia felis new in their region. Thailand detected Legionella longbeachae, Salmonella enterica Stanley, and Salmonella enterica Weltevreden new in their region.


  • The number of Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) trained epidemiologists and laboratorians within GDD Center regions increased from 26 (in 2006) to 263.
  • Provided short-term public health training for more than 39,000 participants worldwide. Training topics have included epidemiology, laboratory, all-hazards preparedness, risk communication, influenza, and others.

Scientists working with the GDD Center in Thailand collect soil samples to evaluate the environment as a reservoir for unusual types of Legionella, which have been detected as a cause of hospitalized pneumonia through the surveillance and research activities.


  • More than 5.5 million persons are under population-based surveillance for pneumonia.
  • More than 2.5 million persons are under population-based surveillance for other syndromes, including bacterial blood stream infections, diarrheal disease, febrile illness of unknown origins, invasive neurological disease, pneumococcal infections, respiratory syncytial virus infections, tuberculosis, and West Nile virus.
  • GDD Centers are using these data to detect outbreaks, make policy recommendations, evaluate new interventions, and measure public health impact.


  • GDD Regional Centers are working with WHO and local Ministries of Health to control the spread of respiratory infections in healthcare settings.
  • GDD Regional Centers are collaborating with WHO and other partners to assess the ability of countries to meet the revised International Health Regulations.

  • Page last reviewed: June 24, 2011
  • Page last updated: June 24, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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