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The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak Graphic Novel

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CDC has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-H to develop “The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak,” a graphic novel intended to educate youth audiences about variant flu and the real disease detective work conducted by public and animal health experts when outbreaks of infectious diseases occur.

This graphic novel follows a group of teenage 4-H members who participate in a state agricultural fair and later attend CDC’s Disease Detective Camp in Atlanta. When one of the boys becomes sick following the fair, the rest of the group use their newly-acquired disease detective knowledge to help a team of public and animal health experts solve the mystery of how their friend became ill.

Educational Activities for the Classroom

CDC has partnered with teachers participating in its Science Ambassador Fellowship to develop educational activities to accompany the graphic novel for use in middle and high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classrooms. The activities highlight themes in the graphic novel to teach youth about public health science, epidemiology, biology, outbreak investigations and associated career skills. The graphic novel and its associated educational activities are part of a broader CDC initiative with USDA and other agricultural partners to raise awareness, knowledge and understanding of a One Health approach to zoonotic disease prevention and response. The activities below are available for free download and use, and additional classroom activities will be developed and posted to this site throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

  • Educational Overview [418 KB, 5 Pages, 508]: This document describes the learning objectives associated with the graphic novel and also topics related to influenza (flu) epidemiology, flu biology, zoonotic diseases, variant flu, novel flu and pandemic flu.
  • Activity 1 – The Operation Outbreak Team [279 KB, 15 Pages, 508]: In this activity, students learn the various roles and responsibilities of the professionals involved in an outbreak response.
  • Additional classroom activities are in development and will be made available in the fall of 2018.

Additional Information

Learn about CDC disease detectives in the Epidemic Intelligence Service, and hear their stories.

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