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Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394


April 11, 2001
CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639–3286

Press Release

CDC Disease Detectives come together at annual conference April 23–27 in Atlanta

Offering the public a rare glimpse into the world of disease detectives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that its annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference will be held at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta April 23-27.

The conference, which is open to the public, will feature highlights of recent investigations by the organization's cadre of disease detectives. The conference will be preceded by a first-ever alumni weekend -- in honor of the EIS' 50th anniversary – and whose agenda includes former EIS officers speaking about their high profile investigations, from HIV to lead poisoning. More than 300 alumni and distinguished visitors are expected to attend both events and 1,300 are expected at the conference.

"At this year's conference, generations of disease detectives from across the country will reconnect with each other and CDC, while discussing some of today's hottest topics in public health," said CDC Director and former EIS officer Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH. "People are healthier and safer because of the efforts of these hands-on investigators."

This year, EIS officers will highlight recent investigations, including the increasing challenges of anti-microbial resistance, tuberculosis among the homeless, and deaths among newborns. Disease detectives also will share a follow-up study they conducted with New York City residents infected during the1999 outbreak of West Nile Encephalitis -- an infection whose spread continues to be monitored throughout the country. EIS officers also will review recent bioterrorism preparedness actions taken at several recent national events and the latest investigations involving environmental health and worker safety and health.

CDC Director Koplan will moderate the opening "EIS in Action" session April 23, where EIS officers will discuss the recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda and its impact on healthcare workers there. Seventeen Ugandan healthcare workers died in that outbreak, including Dr. Matthew Lukwiya, who was trained in an EIS-like program developed in partnership with CDC and who initially identified the Ebola outbreak in his country and mobilized medical staff to care for patients and prevent spread of the disease. The session also will include reports on investigations of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, how to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, and risk-taking behaviors of adolescents who drink and drive. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

"The conference will shed light on how disease detectives go about their work, the methods they use to detect and quickly respond to disease outbreaks, and how they develop strategies to prevent disease and disability. Often their work has a major impact on public health policies at the state and national level," said Dr. Koplan.

A 50th Anniversary Reception will be held the evening of April 23 at the Carter Center Library, hosted by Dr. William H. Foege, EIS class of '62, director of CDC from 1977 to 1983, and currently a senior health advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Joining Dr. Foege will be Dr. Koplan, Dr. Stephen Thacker, director of CDC's epidemiology program which oversees the EIS, and Dr. Donald R. Hopkins, deputy director of CDC from 1984 to 1987. Dr. Hopkins currently leads the Global 2000 River Blindness Program, a collaborative effort by the Carter Center and CDC's parasitic diseases program.

This year's Alexander D. Langmuir Memorial Lecture and Reception will be held at 4 p.m., April 25 at the Emory Conference Center. The keynote speaker, Dr. J. Donald Millar, EIS '61, a leading CDC figure in the global eradication of smallpox, will present, "Halfway through a Century of Excellence."

The EIS was established in 1951 as a unique, two-year post-graduate program of service and on-the-job training for health professionals interested in the practice of epidemiology, the study of the incidence, distribution and control of disease in a population. Since 1951, nearly 2,500 EIS officers have responded to requests for epidemiological assistance within the United States and throughout the world. Each year these disease detectives are involved in several hundred investigations of disease and injury problems. Their research enables CDC and its public health partners to protect people's health and safety.

In observance of the 50th anniversary, CDC has created a special EIS anniversary web site, located at The site features a conference agenda, historical timeline of disease detective investigations, planned events to commemorate the 50th anniversary and profiles of several EIS officers from today and yesterday. The alumni weekend agenda is available at To attend the conference and to interview EIS officers, media can contact the CDC media relations office at 404-639-3286.

About the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

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This page last reviewed April 18, 2001

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