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CDC looks back at 2013 health challenges, ahead to 2014 health worries

Top achievements this year, five health threats in 2014

Publishing Date: December 16, 2013

  • Photo: Lab worker

    CDC's Top Ten: Five for 2013, Five for 2014
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  • Poster: TIPS Campaign

    2013 Accomplishment: Tips Campaign Photo credit: CDC

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    2013 Accomplishment: Listeria and Advanced Molecular Detection Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo:Million Hearts Poster - This team has conquered high blood pressure together. You can too.

    2013 Accomplishment: Million Hearts™ Photo credit: CDC

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    2013 Accomplishment: Healthcare-Associated Infections Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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    2013 Accomplishment: Global AIDS Initiative Photo Credit: David Snyder, CDC Foundation

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    2014 Look Ahead: Antibiotic Resistance and Advanced Molecular Detection. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Spilled bottle of pills

    2014 Look Ahead: Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse and Overdose Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Lab workers performing a disection

    2014 Look Ahead: Global Health Security Photo Credit: Justin Williams, CDC

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  • Photo: Healthcare professional administering a vaccine shot

    2014 Look Ahead: HPV Vaccination Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Boy recieving an oral vaccine

    2014 Look Ahead: Polio Photo Credit: Adam Bjork, CDC

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  • Photo: Lab worker

    CDC researchers studied the formation of biofilms in needless connector devices like the one shown here. The presence of biofilm can increase the risk of infections related to catheters placed in the bloodstream. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Lab worker in a hazmet suit

    The CDC scientist shown here is working at BSL4 laboratory (a maximum containment laboratory) with organisms that pose a high risk of transmission of life-threatening disease and for which no vaccines or antibiotics are available. BSL4 laboratories are often referred to as “hot zones” by recent books and movies. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Still-life Sculpture with sheets

    CDC and its global partners have made enormous progress in reaching more people than ever with life-saving malaria interventions and in substantially reducing malaria deaths. Travelers can protect themselves against malaria by avoiding mosquito bites through the use of repellents or insecticide treated bed nets, specific medicines, and long sleeved clothing. This colorful photo is emblematic of the CDC malaria bed net campaign, and this year the President’s Malaria Initiative is helping Uganda achieve universal coverage with 21 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, saving the lives of an estimated 53,000 Ugandan children. Photo by BK Kapella, CDC

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  • Photo: Cigarette testing lab

    Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general. CDC’s Tobacco Laboratory uses enclosed smoking machines like the one above in this image to simulate the smoking process and collect tobacco smoke. The smoke is analyzed at CDC focusing on measurements of its addictive and toxic constituents. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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  • Photo: Man sneezing

    Protect others as you protect yourself; cover your cough or sneeze. The image above shows how volatile an uncovered sneeze or cough can be. CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into your arm, or using a tissue for your sneeze and then throwing that away followed by hand washing. Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC

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    Nightmare Bacteria ThreatStates with one type of drug-resistant infection, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), in 2001 and 2013.
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As the year comes to a close, CDC, America's health protection agency, looks back at top five health concerns in 2013 and previews the five health threats that loom for 2014. Of course, CDC's most important achievements in 2013 are the outbreaks that didn't happen, the diseases that were stopped before they crossed our borders, and the lives not lost to preventable chronic diseases and injuries. These cannot be counted.

CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats. CDC researchers, scientists, doctors, nurses, economists, communicators, educators, technologists, epidemiologists and many other professionals all contribute their expertise to improving public health. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC increases the health security of our nation.

Here's a snapshot of CDC looking back at 2013 health challenges, and ahead to 2014 health worries:

 Spokesperson

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Quote 1

While our biggest successes may be the bad things that did not happen, careful assessment of what we did well – and what we might do better – is essential for continued success.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quote 2

Investment in world-class technology is a wise investment in U.S. health security. American lives, and America's economic stability depend on CDC quickly detecting and fighting superbugs.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quote 3

There may be a misconception that infectious diseases are over in the industrialized world. But in fact, infectious diseases continue to be with us. Global health and protecting our country go hand in hand.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quote 4

With patterns of global travel and trade, disease can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours. That's why the ability to detect, stop, and prevent these diseases must be developed and strengthened overseas as well as here in the United States.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Accomplishments - 2013

Tips From Former Smokers campaign

Americans quit smoking due to national media campaign

Landmark tobacco education ad campaign more than doubled goals

A CDC study published this year in The Lancet shows that an estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit smoking and more than 200,000 Americans had quit smoking immediately following the three-month “Tips From Former Smokers” (Tips) national ad campaign in 2012. Researchers estimate that more than 100,000 will likely quit smoking permanently because of the Tips campaign.  These results exceed the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits. Ads featured emotionally powerful stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. The campaign encouraged people to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or visit a quit-assistance website.

Quote

Hard-hitting campaigns like 'Tips From Former Smokers' are great investments in public health. This study shows that we save a year of life for less than $200. That makes it one of the most cost-effective prevention efforts.

Tim McAfee, MD, MPH - Director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health

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Listeria & Advanced Molecular Detection

CDC uses Advance Molecular Detection to reduce impact of Listeriosis

Emerging technology can reduce response time and save lives

Listeria ranks third as a cause of death from major foodborne germs in the United States and sickens about 1,600 people each year. Because it can be so deadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started an exciting partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Center for Biotechnology Information to conduct whole genome sequencing of all Listeria monocytogenes collected from reported human illness cases in the United States. This effort leverages public health resources to evaluate and potentially move this promising new technology forward for more routine use in public health laboratories nationwide, with the potential to better track and trace Listeria outbreaks. During 2013, CDC, in collaboration with FDA, used whole genome sequencing along with diagnostic testing for the first time to help clarify which patients’ illnesses were related to an outbreak of listeriosis associated with consumption of contaminated cheese. The use of new Advanced Molecular Detection tools allowed us to successfully define the outbreak strain and show more precisely which illnesses were part of this outbreak.  

Related Links

Graphics/Images

Photo: CDC microbiologist Jessica Halpin

CDC microbiologist Jessica Halpin prepares a sample of Listeria for DNA fingerprinting by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Each type of foodborne bacteria has a unique DNA fingerprint that scientists can identify using techniques like PFGE.

Photo: Listeria monocytogenes and other Listeria species

Listeria monocytogenes (blue) and other Listeria species (white). Listeria are bacteria commonly found in the environment. Listeriosis, a rare disease caused by these bacteria, occurs when someone eats food contaminated with Listeria ; it is only diagnosed by laboratory testing.
Image courtesy of Brian Sauders, New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Food Laboratory Division

Quote

Rapid response saves lives. Expanding the molecular technology and the tracking technologies allows us and partners to quickly identify the causes of foodborne outbreaks and take steps to stop them.

Peter Gerner-Smidt - Microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Million Hearts®

Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes

Evidence-based Treatment Protocols Recommended for Improving Blood Pressure Control

Million Hearts®--CDC released a Vital Signs in 2013 showing that at least 200,000 deaths each year from heart disease in the U.S. could be prevented through changes by individuals, such as stopping smoking, more physical activity, and less salt in the diet; community changes to create safe places to exercise and smoke-free areas; improvements in managing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes; and improvement in acute care, secondary prevention, and rehabilitation. CDC also developed and distributed new resources, recommendations, and protocols, to help health care professionals, communities, and individuals work together to contribute to the Million Hearts® goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. CDC also recognized the best practices of high performers in achieving excellence in the ABCS.

Quote

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death in the US. Nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. It's crucially important that we ramp up the priority. At CDC and Million Hearts®, we have sample protocols that you can customize to your desired goals and approaches.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)

Eliminating Healthcare-Associated Infections

Protecting Patients, Saving Lives

On any given day, about 1 in every 20 hospitalized patients has an infection caused by receiving medical care. These infections cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars and can present patients with devastating emotional, financial, and medical consequences. CDC continues to work toward the elimination of healthcare-associated infections across medical care. More than 12,000 healthcare facilities now track infections using CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). CDC has found that bloodstream infections in patients with central lines have decreased by 44% and surgical-site infections have decreased by 20% since 2008, and that following CDC protocols could cut some dialysis-related bloodstream infections in half.

Quote

Healthcare-associated infections are just one of the things that harm patients. CDC is not going to be satisfied until these threats to patient safety have been eliminated. We have seen some very exciting successes this year, but there is still more to be done to ensure that patients are safe wherever they receive their medical care.

Michael Bell, MD - Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

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Celebrating 10 Years of PEPFAR

Fighting International HIV/AIDS

A decade of success

CDC and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) commemorate a decade of success in fighting global HIV/AIDS. Ten years ago, this modern-day plague was devastating the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals in communities across Africa and in other resource poor countries around the world. Today, we celebrate extraordinary progress in reducing new HIV infections and providing life-saving care and treatment to those living with HIV/AIDS. CDC contributions have played a critically important part in all of these accomplishments. Throughout the past decade, CDC has been advancing science and innovation, and making strategic investments to build the capacity of host countries to lead their own responses to the AIDS epidemic. In 2013, PEPFAR prevented the one millionth baby from being infected with HIV and has 6.7 million people on treatment, with incidence falling in nearly all PEPFAR countries.  The next phase of PEPFAR will be equally pivotal as CDC continues to implement biomedical interventions proven to dramatically decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS. Collaboration between PEPFAR and CDC’s new Global Health Security project is demonstrating that rapid progress is possible to better find, stop, and prevent health threats.CDC is assessing the epidemic impact of rapidly bringing these interventions to scale in countries with high HIV/AIDS burdens as it continues to emphasize the importance of HIV testing and counseling as the gateway to all prevention and treatment interventions.

Related Links

Graphics/Images

Photo: These little girls, and millions of children around the world, is one of the reasons we dedicate ourselves to scaling up what works to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

These little girls, and millions of children around the world, are one of the reasons we dedicate ourselves to scaling up what works to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

 

Infographic: HIV-positive people on oral antiretrovirals are ninety-six percent less likely to transmit HIV.

HIV-positive people on oral antiretrovirals are ninety-six percent less likely to transmit HIV.

Quote

Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, we are making incredible progress fighting global HIV/AIDS, and have saved millions of lives through the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice of so many. Scientific advances, innovation, and strategic investment in our partners overseas have significantly accelerated our progress and maximized epidemic change.

Deborah Birx - Director, Division of Global HIV/AIDS

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Look Ahead - 2014

Antibiotic Resistance & Advanced Molecular Detection

The End of the Antibiotic Era

Coping with untreatable infections

Every year, more than two million people in the U.S. get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result. CDC recently reported a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs that have the most impact on human health and identified four essential steps to combat antibiotic resistance. In 2014, CDC will continue to work with federal, state, and local partners towards improving antibiotic use, preventing infections and the spread of resistance, gathering data on antibiotic-resistant infections, and developing diagnostic tests to track the development of resistance.  Also, with advanced molecular detection (AMD), CDC, public health partners, and healthcare facilities will be better able to track and stop the spread of drug-resistant infections in healthcare facilities, thereby protecting patients and saving lives.

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We are approaching a cliff. If we don’t take steps to slow or stop drug resistance, we will fall back to a time when simple infections killed people. We are asking everyone who uses antibiotics, especially healthcare providers, healthcare leaders, the agriculture industry, manufacturers, policy makers, and patients to step up to this threat and fully engage with us to stop it.

Michael Bell, MD - Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

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Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse and Overdose

Prescription Drug Overdose: A Growing Epidemic

Reducing the number of misuse, abuse or overdose

Deaths from prescription painkillers have reached epidemic levels in the past decade, and more than 16,500 people died from painkiller overdoses in 2010. CDC is working to reduce the misuse, abuse and overdose of prescription painkillers while ensuring patients with pain have access to safe, effective treatment. CDC continues to track prescription drug overdose trends to better understand the epidemic. And, in 2014, will continue to focus on comprehensive state efforts to develop, implement and evaluate promising strategies to prevent prescription drug abuse and overdose.

Quote

The problem of prescription painkiller overdoses has reached epidemic proportions. The annual number of overdose deaths from these drugs now exceeds deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. This is a public health crisis and measures must be taken now to reduce the death toll.

Linda C. Degutis, DrPH, MSN - Director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

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Global Health Security

Securing our Global Health Borders

Disease can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours

Infectious disease outbreaks, whether natural, intentional, or accidental, are still among the foremost dangers to human health and the global economy.  With patterns of global travel and trade, disease can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours.  That’s why the ability to prevent, detect and respond to these disease threats must be developed and strengthened overseas and not just here in the U.S.  Through strategic investments in critical public health systems, CDC is working with Ministries of Health to increase their ability to prepare for and respond to public health threats and reduce the risk of these threats crossing borders.

Quote

There may be a misconception that infectious diseases are over in the industrialized world. But in fact, infectious diseases continue to be, and will always be, with us. With patterns of global travel and trade, disease can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours. That’s why the ability to detect, fight and prevent these diseases must be developed and strengthened overseas, and not just here in the United States. Global health and national security go hand in hand.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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HPV Vaccines

HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention

Preteens and Teens Still Need Vaccines

For both boys and girls, HPV vaccination rates continue to be well below the Healthy People goals for 2020, leaving an entire generation susceptible to HPV-related cancers. CDC will continue to monitor adolescent vaccination coverage levels via the National Immunization Survey (NIS) – Teen. Additionally, we will provide technical assistance to 11 immunization program awardees that received funding to improve HPV vaccination coverage levels among adolescent girls and boys. We will also continue outreach and education to clinicians through continuing medical education, partnership with professional associations, and other educational opportunities to help strengthen vaccine recommendations and eliminate missed opportunities for HPV vaccination. Finally, utilizing partnership building and media outreach, CDC will continue awareness activities aimed at parents of 11-12 year olds to help promote understanding and uptake of HPV vaccine.

Quote

Progress toward HPV vaccination has stalled, risking the health of the next generation. Doctors need to step up their efforts by talking to parents about the importance of HPV vaccine just as they do other vaccines and ensure it’s given at every opportunity.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Back to Top

Polio (CGH)

A World Without Polio

Coming Together to End Polio Once and For All

The world is closer than ever to ending polio everywhere, thanks to the efforts of CDC and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. However, challenges must be addressed in 2014 to meet the goal of eradicating polio once and for all. Insecurity is the biggest challenge. Active conflict, military operations and/or local bans on immunizations prevent polio vaccinators from reaching approximately two million children in high-risk areas. Overcoming this challenge is a critical step towards ending polio and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. Working together as part of a committed global effort, we are confident that we will be able to change history and end polio forever.

Quote

The world is closer than ever to ending polio everywhere. However, as we enter 2014, challenges remain and solutions must be found for the world to meet the goal of eradicating polio once and for all. Access to children in insecure areas is the biggest remaining challenge. Active conflict, military operations and/or local bans on immunizations prevent the essential polio vaccinators from reaching approximately two million children in high-risk areas globally. Overcoming this challenge is a critical step towards stopping future outbreaks, ending polio and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Rebecca Martin, PhD - Director Global Immunization Division, Center for Global Health

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