CDC’s 63rd Annual Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) Conference Began Today: Features “Disease Detectives” and Their Work To Save Lives
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today began its 63rd Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference in Atlanta, a week-long event to feature the life-saving work of its current EIS officers, or “disease detectives” and welcome the incoming class of officers to the two-year post-graduate EIS program.
Antimicrobial Resistance & Advanced Molecular Detection
Each year, more than two million Americans get infections resistant to antibiotics; 23,000 die. If antibiotic resistance continues to expand, minor infections could become life threatening and even routine surgeries would become dangerous. Antibiotic use promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Talk with your healthcare provider about antibiotic resistance. When you are prescribed an antibiotic take it exactly as the doctor tells you. Smart use of antibiotics is the key to controlling the spread of resistance.
- Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing for Children — United States, 2011: Do doctors overprescribe antibiotics to children? In this investigation researchers led by EIS officer Alicia Demirjian, MD, sought to define the use of antibiotics among children according to provider specialty and geography.
- Vaccines for a “Piece de Resistance”: Prevention of Antimicrobial Resistance Among Children Aged < 5 Years with the 13-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine — Selected U.S. Areas, 2004–2012: EIS officer Sara M. Tomczyk’s team evaluated the effects of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and found that PCV13 use among children has led to decreased rates of antimicrobial resistant severe pneumococcal disease.
- Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken— United States, 2013: Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million infections and 400 deaths annually in the United States. Last year, a cluster of human infections of Salmonella Heidelberg was identified and linked to Foster Farms brand chicken. More than 500 people in 25 states have become ill and nearly 40 percent were hospitalized; the outbreak continues today. Testing of patient samples and Foster Farms chicken found resistance to seven commonly prescribed antibiotics. Many were resistant to multiple antibiotics. Although these antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella infections, antibiotic resistance can be associated with increased risk of hospitalization in infected individuals. This outbreak investigation highlights the need for more rigorous Salmonella control in raw chicken products and judicious use of antibiotics in humans and animals.
- Risk Factors for Invasive Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection after Discharge from Acute-Care Hospitals--United States, 2011-2013: Dr. Lauren Epstein led a team that identified risk factors for developing invasive MRSA infections after an acute care hospitalization. They found a need for long-term-care facilities need to boost infection-prevention practices and for improvement in the insertion and maintenance of invasive devices in recently discharged patients.
Global Health Security
In today’s interconnected world, a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. Global health security – keeping the U.S. and the world safe and secure from infectious disease threats – is achieved by preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks as early and effectively as possible. The CDC works 24/7 to protect the American people from disease both in the U.S. and overseas.
- CDC Disease Detectives Using New Software Tool In Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak: For the first time, disease detectives are using a new software tool to detect Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Developed at the CDC by Dr. Ilana Schaffer and Erik Knudsen, the Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) application helps field workers to find people exposed to the deadly virus faster.
- First Chikungunya Outbreak in Micronesia – Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, 2013: In October 2013, laboratory-confirmed chikungunya cases were identified in the Yap Islands and marked the first local transmission of the virus. An investigation led by Dr. Daniel M. Pastula found a high attack rate and rapid geographic spread. Lessons learned may be applicable to the current spread of chikungunya in the Caribbean islands.
- Two cattle herdsmen infected with a novel species of Orthopoxvirus — Georgia (country), 2013: Smallpox eradication meant the end of smallpox vaccination and protection from other poxviruses. With the exception of variola (smallpox), Orthopoxviruses such as cowpox are often associated with animals. Dr. Neil Vora led the investigation when two herdsmen in the nation of Georgia became ill after contact with sick cattle. Their findings suggest that Orthopoxviruses may well emerge in the absence of routine smallpox vaccination.
- Contact investigation of melioidosis cases reveals regional endemicity — Puerto Rico, 2010 and 2012: Case-fatality rates for melioidosis can be as high as 40 percent. Improved survival rates are attributed to early diagnosis and treatment with appropriate antibiotics. Dr. Thomas J. Doker’s team investigated melioidosis cases in Puerto Rico.
Prescription Drug Overdose
Every day, more than 60 Americans die from prescription drug overdose. Prescription drugs are now involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Use prescription painkillers only as directed by a healthcare provider. Store prescription painkillers in a secure place and dispose of them properly. Get help for substance abuse problems if needed (1-800-662-HELP).
- Novel, Illicit Fentanyl-Analog Causes 14 Overdose Deaths — Rhode Island, 2013: Rhode Island health officials found that a cluster of overdose deaths were due to a new designer opioid – acetyl fentanyl. EIS officer Matthew Lozier’s team led the investigation that linked the drug to 14 deaths over three months. This investigation increased awareness of laboratory capacity to identify acetyl fentanyl nationally.
- Assessing Risk Factors Associated with Prescription Opioid Overdose Deaths — New Mexico, 2012: In 2013, members of the National Association of Medical Examiners noted reports of breathing abnormalities among people who died of drug overdose. CDC disease detectives led by Benjamin Levy reviewed all unintentional overdose deaths registered in New Mexico in 2012. Nearly a third of deaths had been witnessed by family or friends and a third of those deaths involved recognizable breathing abnormalities. Recognition of overdose symptoms can lead to early intervention.
Monday through Thursday, disease detectives will present their research findings from U.S. and international-based investigations conducted over the past year. Below are several EIS officers and their work that will be featured during the conference. CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. will provide closing remarks on Thursday.
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH
"EIS is one of the jewels in the crown of CDC programs, at the heart of the agency’s work to help people live safer, healthier lives. For more than 63 years, EIS disease detectives have stepped up at a moment’s notice and traveled to all corners of the world to investigate and stop outbreaks. They are mission-driven and the boots on the ground that help protect people’s health in the US and all over the world."
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Page last reviewed: April 30, 2014
- Page last updated: April 30, 2014
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