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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.

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.

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.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH


Photo: Dr Thomas Frieden

"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