News Articles


  • Alaskapox a subject of scientific intrigue while world copes with more dangerous monkeypox
    Since 2015, four people in Alaska have been infected with a previously unknown Orthopoxvirus now known as Alaskapox. Though symptoms have been mild, CDC disease detective Katherine Newell cautions that “it’s difficult to know how a new virus will behave in a population…” After two cases in humans in 2021, Newell worked with Alaskan colleagues to try to find the source of the virus. She spoke with the Alaska Beacon about the investigation and what they’ve learned about this emerging virus.
    Alaska Beacon
    July 18, 2022
  • TikTok Tics: Cluster of 8 Girls Proves It’s Not to Blame, CDC Says (
    Teens around the world have been experiencing involuntary tics with increasing frequency. CDC disease detective Melanie Firestone was a part of the team that investigated a cluster of cases in one state, connecting the dots to determine the cause of the tics. Eight teen girls in Minnesota, all connected through friendship or extracurricular activities, developed functional tics around the same time. Firestone discovered it wasn’t social media use that linked these girls, as some initially suspected – they were all experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. “The experience of these students just highlights how stress and mental health can affect us in such unique ways,” Firestone said in an interview with Insider news:
    May 12, 2022
  • Red Hill Water Contamination Sickened Some 2,000 People, Survey Finds
    Two leaks at the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in 2021 exposed more than 90,000 water customers to fuel contamination. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer Amanda Smith was part of a team that conducted an Assessment of Chemical Exposures (ACE) survey to better understand the seriousness of the incident and its health impacts. At the EIS conference on May 5, 2022, Smith shared survey findings [11 MB, 122 Pages, 508] that showed approximately 2,000 Hawaii residents became sick from the contaminated water.
    Honolulu Civil Beat
    May 5, 2022
  • With usual suspects ruled out, disease detectives try to crack mystery of viral hepatitis cases in kids
    An unusual spike in pediatric hepatitis cases—228 cases in at least 20 countries as of May 1—has left many experts with unanswered questions. STAT spoke to Eric Pevzner, chief of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), as well as EIS officer Julia Petras to learn how EIS officers work with other experts to get to the root of a previously unknown disease threat.
    May 4, 2022
  • Alaska has among the nation’s highest rates of paralytic shellfish poisoning, but reported incidents are declining
    EIS officer Katherine Newell is assigned to Alaska’s Division of Public Health where she recently worked on a new state report tracking cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Though reported cases of PSP declined from 1993 to 2021, Alaska residents—especially those who self-harvest shellfish—should be aware of the risks. Newell spoke with the Anchorage Daily News about the report, PSP symptoms, and what residents should do if they think they might be infected.
    Anchorage Daily News
    April 23, 2022
  • Pilot Program Testing and Educating Students About Dengue
    The U.S. Virgin Islands is entering the prime breeding season for mosquitoes. CDC disease detective Valerie Mac is heading a pilot program in the territory to test school children for mosquito-borne dengue fever and to educate students about the virus. Mac recently spoke to The St. Thomas Source about the program and why it is so important to teach kids about the risks of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
    St. Thomas Source
    April 15, 2022
  • Pandemic Taking Its Toll on Public Health Workers
    Jonathan Bryant-Genevier (EIS 2019) led the first-ever survey on state, local, territorial and tribal public health worker mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke with Infectious Disease Special Edition about the study, published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and implications for workforce health and emergency preparedness.
    Infectious Disease Special Edition
    January 3, 2022

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