Spokesperson Portfolio - Inger K. Damon, MD, PhD

Director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Inger K. Damon, MD, PhD

Inger K. Damon, MD, PhD

Inger K. Damon, MD, PhD

Dr. Inger Damon is one of the world’s foremost experts on orthopoxviruses including monkeypox and smallpox, the latter an infectious disease that killed millions each year until it was eradicated in 1979. Eradication was largely due to the success of global vaccination campaigns integrated with public health approaches and systems. Her experience with smallpox vaccine development is helping her expedite the development of Ebola vaccines, therapeutics, and additional diagnostics.

As head of CDC’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa during 2014-2015, Dr. Damon was responsible for establishing a strategic direction and managing the day-to-day operation of the largest international emergency response in CDC history. “I have years of experience doing the core public health work that’s required to stop this Ebola epidemic,” says Damon. “The same tools we used to fight Ebola – focusing on community involvement, education, case identification including diagnostics, contact tracing, and isolation – were used to wipe out smallpox and are still used for monkeypox control.”



CDC Public Affairs

Printable Biography
Inger K. Damon, MD, PhD Cdc-pdf[PDF – 369 KB]


  • Infectious diseases
  • Viral and hemorrhagic fevers
  • Smallpox and other pox viruses

Current Position

  • Director, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Patholody. Formerly served as incident commander of the CDC’s Ebola Response from 2014 to 2015.

Spokesperson Resources

Past Positions

  • Incident Manager, CDC Ebola Response – 2014-2015
  • Chief, Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases


  • Amherst College (BA/ Magna cum Laude) in Chemistry
  • University of Connecticut (MD, PhD in Biomedical Sciences)
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Internal medicine residency)
  • National Institutes of Health (clinical fellowship in infectious diseases and post-doctoral fellowship in molecular virology)
  • Board certification in internal medicine and infectious diseases
  • Clinical Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine

Honors and Awards

  • Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections
  • Townsend MB, Keckler MS, Patel N, Davies DH, Felgner P, Damon IK, Karem KL.Humoral Immunity to Smallpox Vaccines and Monkeypox virus Challenge; Proteomic Assessment and Clinical Correlations. J Virol. 2013 Jan;87(2):900-11.
  • Salzer JS, Carroll DS, Rwego IB, Li Y, Falendysz EA, Shisler JL, Karem KL, Damon IK, Gillespie TR. Serologic evidence for circulating orthopoxviruses in peridomestic rodents from rural Uganda. J Wildl Dis. 2013 Jan;49(1):125-31.
  • Nakazawa Y, Emerson GL, Carroll DS, Zhao H, Li Y, Reynolds MG, Karem KL, Olson VA, Lash RR, Davidson WB, Smith SK, Levine RS, Regnery RL, Sammons SA, Frace MA, Mutasim EM, Karsani ME, Muntasir MO, Babiker AA, Opoka L, Chowdhary V, Damon IK. Phylogenetic and ecologic perspectives of a monkeypox outbreak, southern Sudan, 2005. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;19(2):237-45.
  • Roess AA, McCollum AM, Gruszynski K, Zhao H, Davidson W, Lafon N, Engelmeyer  T, Moyer B, Godfrey C, Kilpatrick H, Labonte A, Murphy J, Carroll DS, Li Y, Damon IK. Surveillance of Parapoxvirus Among Ruminants in Virginia and Connecticut. Zoonoses Public Health. 2013 Feb 8.
  • Reynolds MG, Emerson GL, Pukuta E, Karhemere S, Muyembe JJ, Bikindou A, McCollum AM, Moses C, Wilkins K, Zhao H, Damon IK, Karem KL, Li Y, Carroll DS, Mombouli JV. Detection of human monkeypox in the Republic of the Congo following  intensive community education. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 May;88(5):982-5.
  • Hutson CL, Gallardo-Romero N, Carroll DS, Clemmons C, Salzer JS, Nagy T, Hughes CM, Olson VA, Karem KL, Damon IK. Transmissibility of the monkeypox virus  clades via respiratory transmission: investigation using the prairie dog-monkeypox virus challenge system. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55488.
  • Tack DM, Karem KL, Montgomery JR, Collins L, Bryant-Genevier MG, Tiernan R, Cano M, Lewis P, Engler RJ, Damon IK, Reynolds MG. Unintentional transfer of vaccinia virus associated with smallpox vaccines: ACAM2000(®) compared with Dryvax(®). Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013 Jul 1;9(7):1489-96.
  • Fernandez KH, Bream M, Ali MA, Krogmann T, Zhao H, Li Y, Cohen JI, Damon I, Liu V. Investigation of molluscum contagiosum virus, orf and other parapoxviruses in lymphomatoid papulosis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Jun;68(6):1046-7.
  • Emerson GL, Nordhausen R, Garner MM, Huckabee JR, Johnson S, Wohrle RD, Davidson WB, Wilkins K, Li Y, Doty JB, Gallardo-Romero NF, Metcalfe MG, Karem KL, Damon IK, Carroll DS. Novel poxvirus in big brown bats, northwestern United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013 Jun;19(6):1002-4.
  • Carroll DS, Olson VA, Smith SK, Braden ZH, Patel N, Abel J, Li Y, Damon IK, Karem KL. Orthopoxvirus variola infection of Cynomys ludovicianus (North American black tailed prairie dog). Virology. 2013 Sep 1;443(2):358-62.
  • Vora NM, Basavaraju SV, Feldman KA, Paddock CD, Orciari L, Gitterman S, Griese S, Wallace RM, Said M, Blau DM, Selvaggi G, Velasco-Villa A, Ritter J, Yager P, Kresch A, Niezgoda M, Blanton J, Stosor V, Falta EM, Lyon GM 3rd, Zembower T, Kuzmina N, Rohatgi PK, Recuenco S, Zaki S, Damon I, Franka R, Kuehnert MJ; Transplant-Associated Rabies Virus Transmission Investigation Team. Raccoon rabies virus variant transmission through solid organ transplantation. JAMA Jul 24;310(4):398-407.
  • Keckler MS, Reynolds MG, Damon IK, Karem KL. The effects of post-exposure smallpox vaccination on clinical disease presentation: Addressing the data gaps between historical epidemiology and modern surrogate model data. Vaccine. 2013 Oct 25;31(45):5192-201.
  • Zhao H, Wilkins K, Damon IK, Li Y. Specific qPCR assays for the detection of orf virus, pseudocowpox virus and bovine papular stomatitis virus. J Virol Methods. 2013 Sep 12;194(1-2):229-234.
  • Nakazawa Y, Lash RR, Carroll DS, Damon IK, Karem KL, Reynolds MG, Osorio JE, Rocke TE, Malekani JM, Muyembe JJ, Formenty P, Peterson AT. Mapping Monkeypox Transmission Risk through Time and Space in the Congo Basin. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 5;8(9):e74816.
  • Mucker EM, Goff AJ, Shamblin JD, Grosenbach DW, Damon IK, Mehal JM, Holman RC, Carroll D, Gallardo N, Olson VA, Clemmons CJ, Hudson P, Hruby DE. Efficacy of tecovirimat (ST-246) in non-human primates infected with variola virus (smallpox). Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Oct 7.
  • Hughes CM, Damon IK, Reynolds MG. Understanding U.S. Healthcare providers’ practices and experiences with molluscum contagiosum. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 14;8(10):e76948.
  • McCollum AM, Damon IK. Human Monkeypox. Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Oct 24. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24158414.
  • Townsend MB, Macneil A, Reynolds MG, Hughes CM, Olson VA, Damon IK, Karem KL.
  • Evaluation of the Tetracore Orthopox BioThreat(®) antigen detection assay using laboratory grown orthopoxviruses and rash illness clinical specimens. J Virol Methods. 2013 Jan;187(1):37-42.
Page last reviewed: March 27, 2017