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Global Disease Detection Program: Stories & Blogs from the Field

These stories and blogs illustrate the innovation, determination, and resourcefulness it takes to protect people all over the world through advancing the science of global public health. This work would not be possible without our partners and collaborators throughout CDC, and our field staff across the globe.  Please enjoy this series of Global Disease Detection Stories, many of which are also featured in the Winter 2015 edition of Updates From the Field.


People. Pathogens. Protection.
Dr. Joel Montgomery, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), adjusts a colleague’s PPE before entering the Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia.

The biggest challenges are always the unknowns–the things we can’t predict, which seem to come out of nowhere and command our attention.


System Strengthening – A One Health Approach
Participants conducting group work during the zoonotic disease prioritization workshop, Kenya, September 2015

Today’s global society increases the risk of major economic losses and numerous deaths from zoonotic diseases that spread between animals and people, like rabies, avian influenza, and Rift Valley fever. One way to prevent such devastation and protect the public is with One Health – a collaborative approach…

Global Disease Detection Stories: Protecting the Power of Antibiotics—Lessons from Egypt
Lessons from Egypt

Cultural roadblocks can stand in the way of addressing the danger of antimicrobial resistance. In Egypt, barriers are coming down thanks to a national program that works with hospitals and communities to address healthcare-associated infections and change the way antibiotics are used.

Global Disease Detection Stories: Unlocking the Mystery of Childhood Deaths in Kenya

The World Health Organization estimates that 50 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five years are caused by acute respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchiolitis. In Kenya, efforts are underway to figure out which infections are killing young children, and why.

Improving the Lives of Children in Kenya
Improving lives of children in Kenya

In April 2011, Everline, a resident of the Kibera community in Kenya, was approached by a community mobilizer. Talking with him was normal to her, but this time the information he had was different.

Typhoid Fever Targets Children from Kenyan Urban Slums
Typhoid in Kenya

About 200,000 people live in Kibera, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, and the largest informal settlement in East Africa. With an estimated one-pit latrine for every 200 people, residents use plastic bags for relief and then dispose of them anywhere.

Kenya’s progress towards sustainable health
Kenya's progress towards sustainable health

Recent events in Nairobi have understandably focused the world on security challenges in Kenya. In that context it is important to recognize inspiring public health advances that represent innovative collaboration between CDC and our Kenyan partners to increase health security for Kenya and the global community.

A Pharmacist Motivated by Inspirational Women

Fredrick Ochenge moves quickly and efficiently around Tabitha clinic’s small pharmacy, filling up bottles, counting out pills, and chatting happily with everyone he encounters.

A Promising New Career in the Slums of Kibera

It has been six years, but Kennedy Odero can still remember perfectly the day he first crossed paths with CDC-Kenya. ‘I was attending a local church function, and I heard an announcement that the CDC was looking for people to train as community health workers,’ recalls Odero. ‘At the time, I had another job, but it was not utilizing my skills appropriately.’

Global Disease Detection Stories: Tracking and Taming Zoonotic Diseases in South Africa
South Africa tracking taming zoonotic diseases

How do you tonsil swab a wild African buffalo? More importantly, why? The answer is that buffaloes are reservoirs for certain “zoonotic” diseases, or diseases that can be passed from animals to humans.


Global Disease Detection Stories: Getting Resourceful in Guatemala – How to Build an EOC on a Shoestring
Guatemala resourceful EOC

Having Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) that can respond within two hours is one of the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda. But do EOCs need to come with a high price tag? Not according to Luis Hernandez, who is on the road 200 days a year setting up EOCs in all corners of the world.


Better Tests, Better Surveillance: On the Cutting Edge Of Laboratory Innovation in Thailand
The laboratory system is a state-of-the-art, automated instrument used to classify bacteria and test their antibiotic susceptibilities at the same time, which is faster than conventional, manual methods.

In today’s interconnected world, deadly diseases can spread swiftly, underscoring the need for innovative, accurate, real-time lab results to stop an epidemic in a moment’s notice.

Global Disease Detection Stories: Five Steps to Scientific Success in Bangladesh

Good scientific writing is “how we communicate and participate in the global conversation,” says Dr. Steve Luby, former Country Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Bangladesh. Fortunately, thanks to Steve and his colleagues, strong scientific writing practices have taken root in Bangladesh, helping junior scientists grow and thrive.

Global Disease Detection Stories: Disease Diplomacy—From China to Atlanta to Sierra Leone

Neither Dr. ShuYu Wu nor Dr. Yuzhi Zhang—laboratory experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Global Disease Detection program in China—had ever been to Africa or worked on an international outbreak response before.

Global Disease Detection Stories: Coordinated Outbreak Response Puts Diarrhea on the Run
India Diarrhea on the run

People think of their wedding day as the happiest day of their lives. In India, weddings often include several days of festivities with friends and family. Symptoms like “abdominal pain,” and “vomiting” are unwanted guests, but they crashed one wedding party in Gujarat State. Fortunately, India is committed to strengthening outbreak response and surveillance…

Global Disease Detection Stories: Joining Forces on Laboratory Reform in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan lab reform

With dramatic landscapes, vast cultural diversity, and a wealth of natural resources, Kazakhstan is a country on the move. But under this promising landscape, deadly disease outbreaks like Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever still occur and are of increasing concern.

Global Disease Detection Stories: Open Borders, Safe Borders—Thailand Keeps Watch for Outbreaks
Thailand group

At a hospital on the edge of Thailand, near the border with Laos, a healthcare worker examines a young female traveler complaining of fever. He knows that dengue, a mosquito-borne virus, is common in the area. But he can’t be sure.

The Value of CDC’s Work in Thailand
CDC Thailand

When I became country director in 2013 the relationships between Thailand’s public health officials and CDC were already strong and well established. That wasn’t surprising. CDC’s collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, after all, began 30 years ago and the partnership has been prospering – and expanding – ever since.

CDC in Thailand: 30 years of partnership in improving health and preventing disease
CDC in Thailand 30 Years of Partnership

CDC recently marked 30 years of collaboration with the Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). This partnership has created new disease prevention and intervention strategies that have saved lives and improved health in Thailand and across Southeast Asia and increased health security of the U.S.


Global Disease Detection Stories: Going Above and Beyond to Eliminate Hepatitis C in the Country of Georgia
Georgia eliminate hepatitis

To stop a disease in its tracks, you need to get ahead of it. Sometimes this means going off the beaten path, into remote villages where your GPS doesn’t work, into people’s homes and businesses. Sometimes the people there speak your language, sometimes they don’t. But when the disease you’re tracking doesn’t know any boundaries, neither can you.