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Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2000
Contact: CDC Media Relations (404) 639-3286

Newest Disease Detectives report to CDC

The latest class of 73 physicians, veterinarians, and other health scientists who will investigate epidemics and protect the Nation's health over the next two years just arrived at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This elite corps of health officers makes up the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), which is in its 49th year. These scientists will investigate outbreaks as well as health crises arising from environmental hazards or natural disasters such as hurricanes or forest fires. They will also tackle the modern epidemics of cigarette smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and intentional and unintentional injuries. The Officers are on duty 24 hours a day. Most of their investigations are for health problems in the United States. Recent ones include West Nile Virus in New York City, heat-related deaths in Chicago and Cincinnati, and severe malnutrition of children due to inappropriate use of milk substitutes in Georgia. However, many include epidemics abroad where U.S. assistance is requested such as the Nipah Virus outbreak in Malaysia and the deadly Ebola epidemics in Africa.

"CDC's disease detectives are on the front line protecting our Nation's health and safety," said CDC director and former EIS officer, Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan. "They are ready at a moment's notice to get on an airplane and sacrifice their own health and safety to control some of the globe's most challenging health issues."

The group of 28 men and 45 women carry impeccable credentials from leading universities across the nation and around the world. Nineteen EIS Officers will report to field assignments in city and state health departments; 54 will remain with CDC in various programs in and outside of Atlanta . Eleven of the officers are from other countries. The two-year EIS program is an invaluable training experience for the nation's public health leadership. Many will ultimately take leadership positions at CDC, state health departments, or schools of public health. Many will become recognized health authorities throughout the nation and the world.


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