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2015: What Kept Us Up At Night and What Will Keep Us Busy in 2016

In 2015, CDC continued to work in the U.S. and globally to end infectious disease threats. By stopping disease where it starts, and by strengthening public health systems around the world, we helped keep Americans safer.

We also continued our efforts to improve the chronic health conditions that affect the daily lives of Americans.    

These are a few of the threats that kept us up at night in 2015 and will keep CDC busy in 2016.


Where are we now?
  • CDC helped set up emergency operations centers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to help them effectively detect and respond to future public health emergencies.
  • CDC is helping Ebola-affected nations transition from outbreak response (getting to zero) to long-term public health prevention (staying at zero)
  • CDC launched an Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone in April 2015 and has vaccinated more than 7,000 participants.
What’s next:
  • The effort to stay at zero cases continues.
  • CDC now has permanent offices in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to provide ongoing assistance and support.
  • CDC is helping the African Union set up African CDC to support the continent in preventing outbreaks and improving public health.
  • CDC researchers continue to learn more about the Ebola virus. Recent studies have shown the presence of Ebola virus in breast milk and in semen.
  • This epidemic emphasized the importance of quickly identifying and treating new cases to prevent future cases and outbreaks.


Antibiotic Resistance

	Antibiotic Resistance
Where are we now?
  • 2015 marked the release of the National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistance, announced at the first White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship. The National Action plan brings together human and animal health groups dedicated to improving antibiotic stewardship in the United States.
  • In 2015 CDC learned that when healthcare facilities coordinate their efforts, they can prevent the spread of nightmare bacteria resistant to most antibiotics (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae or CRE).
  • CDC published guidelines for how state and local health departments can alert local facilities when antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reported in their area. This boost in communication among facilities, especially when transferring patients, prevents deadly spread.
What’s next?
  • In 2016, CDC will debut the AR Patient Safety Atlas, an interactive web platform, with open access to antibiotic resistance data on health care-associated infections (HAIs) reported to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).  
  • Also in 2016, CDC will release the first antibiotic stewardship report describing progress in prescribing practices in human medicine.  We must preserve these miracle medications so we can avoid returning to the pre-antibiotic era when minor infections often led to death.


Global Health Security

	Global Health Security
Where are we now?
  • In 2015, two important milestones were met to advance the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA):
    • In November, the U.S. government and 30 countries committed to work together to achieve the targets of the GHSA.
    • In September, at the second high-level ministerial meeting in Seoul, Korea, the “Seoul Declaration” was announced, including the shared vision, effective organization, and future direction of GHSA, including its Action Packages.
  • CDC has awarded 51 cooperative agreements to organizations working in 24 countries to implement GHSA and Ebola preparedness activities. This includes awards to Ministries of Health in 10 countries. Between these and existing agreements, CDC has awarded nearly $100 million to support GHSA and Ebola preparedness work.
What’s next? 
  • In each of the 30 countries, the United States is working with host governments and other partners to establish a five-year roadmap to achieve and sustain each of the targets of the GHSA. These roadmaps outline specific milestones, next steps, and gaps toward achieving the capacity needed to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.
  • In 2016, the Netherlands will host the third GHSA high-level event to highlight progress and continue to build momentum.
  • CDC will continue
    • Expanding the number of disease detectives on the ground,
    • Establishing safe and secure lab networks to find deadly microbes,
    • Strengthening response to public health emergencies, and
    • Upgrading systems to track health threats.



	No Smoking
Where we are now?
  • The 2015 Tips from Former Smokers campaign in 2015 featured new hard-hitting ads with real people talking about their struggles with vision loss and colorectal cancer. The 2012 Tips campaign motivated 1.6 million smokers to make a quit attempt, resulting in an estimated 100,000 smokers quitting permanently and averting about 17,000 premature deaths. Millions of nonsmokers reported talking to friends and family about the dangers of smoking and referring smokers to quit services.
  • A new Vital Signs report showed that 1 in 4 nonsmokers (58 million people) in the U.S. are still exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS). SHS exposure is more common among children ages 3 to 11 years, blacks, people living below the poverty level, and people who rent their housing.
  • In 2014, 16.8% of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers. However, rates are still high among certain populations.
  • In 2014, for the first time, current e-cigarette use among middle and high school students surpassed current use of every other tobacco product, including conventional cigarettes.
What’s next in 2016?
  • We look forward in 2016 to a new round of compelling and effective Tips from Former Smokers ads that will help people quit and save lives.
  • January’s Vital Signs will focus on youth and tobacco use.


Prescription Drug Overdose (PDO)

	Drug Overdose
Where we are now?
  • CDC launched Prevention for States to give states the resources and support to stop prescription drug overdoses.
  • When the Prescription Becomes the Problem” was launched on social media, bringing the stories of people directly affected by opioid abuse to the forefront so others can learn from their experience.
  • CDC is developing opioid prescribing guidelines to help primary care physicians – the most common opioid prescribers -- provide safer, more effective care while reducing patients’ risk of addiction and overdose.
What’s next?
  • CDC plans to release its opioid prescribing guideline for chronic pain in 2016.
  • CDC will provide all 50 states with funding for the Prevention for States program to better track opioid and heroin abuse and deaths and investigate health emergencies related to opioid abuse.


Lab Safety

	Lab Safety
Where are we now?
  • Lab safety improvements at CDC remained a critical area and saw much progress in 2015, including establishing the new Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety and welcoming the inaugural class of laboratory leadership service fellows.
What’s next?
  • Looking ahead in 2016, our goal is to get as close to zero risk as possible. We can’t stop our work – it’s too important to our ability to protect Americans and keep us all safe. .