Epidemiologic Assistance (Epi-Aids) and Field Investigations

An Epi-Aid is an investigation of an urgent public health problem, such as infectious or non-communicable disease outbreaks, unexplained illnesses, or natural or manmade disasters. When a public health authority requests assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an Epi-Aid allows rapid, short-term (1–3 weeks), generally onsite, technical assistance by EIS Officers and other CDC subject matter experts. The focus on an Epi-Aid investigation is to assist partners in making rapid, practical decisions for actions to prevent and control the public health problem.

These are examples of Epi-Aids and field investigations conducted by EIS Officers at NCEH/ATSDR.

2019
  • Undetermined health outcomes following a natural gas pipeline explosion and fire among community residents and first responders — Lincoln County, Kentucky, 2019
  • Health effects following an anhydrous ammonia chemical spill in Illinois, 2019
2018
Amy Lavery (EIS ’17) and Jared Rispens (EIS ’18) respond to an outbreak on a cruise ship with CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program

Amy Lavery (EIS ’17) and Jared Rispens (EIS ’18), pictured with Keisha Houston, Amy Freeland, and Aimee Treffiletti, responding to a large-scale outbreak of acute gastroenteritis on a cruise ship. 3-D maps of the ship helped the team understand where and how cases occurred over time throughout the ship.

2017
Audrey Pennington (EIS ’17) collecting environmental samples following Hurricane Harvey

Audrey Pennington (EIS ’17) collecting environmental samples following Hurricane Harvey

2016
  • Epidemiology support for Spokane Tribe assessment of private well water — Wellpinit, WA, 2016
  • Zika surveillance for the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry — American Samoa, 2016
  • Investigation of high levels of lead in drinking water — Flint, Michigan, 2016
  • Improvement of water, sanitation, and hygiene during a cholera outbreak — Tanzania, 2016
  • Undetermined risk factors for asthma-related healthcare utilization — Puerto Rico, 2016
Nanda Issa (EIS ’16) arrives in the U.S. Virgin Islands to perform a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)

Nanda Issa (EIS ’16) arrives in the U.S. Virgin Islands to perform a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)

2015
  • Investigation of severe illness and death associated with homemade alcoholic beverage among funeral attendees — Mozambique, 2015
  • Investigation of adverse events associated with synthetic cannabinoid — Mississippi, 2015
Lillianne Lewis (EIS’15) and Emilio Dirlikov (EIS’15) in Puerto Rico

Lillianne Lewis (EIS’15) and Emilio Dirlikov (EIS’15) in Puerto Rico

Alice Wang (EIS ’15) in Tanzania

Alice Wang (EIS ’15) in Tanzania

2014
  • Investigation of Ebola Virus Disease — Ohio, 2014
  • Investigation of Ebola Virus Disease Importation — Texas, 2014
  • Undetermined risk for childhood lead poisoning in the area surrounding a former lead paint production facility — Pennsylvania, 2014
  • Undetermined burden of disease and risk factors for chikungunya virus infections — Puerto Rico, 2014
  • Investigation of asthma-related ER visits — Utah, 2014
  • Undetermined risk factors and mode of transmission in a healthcare-associated Legionnaires’ disease outbreak — Alabama, 2014
  • Undetermined source for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak associated with a resort — Georgia, 2014
Amy Kasper (EIS ’14) interviews cases in Mozambique

Amy Kasper (EIS ’14) interviews cases in Mozambique

2013
  • Medical chart review and hospital survey after the Elk River chemical spill — West Virginia, 2013
  • Impact of Drought Conditions on Private Well Owners — Multistate, 2013
  • Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) for Rapid Identification of Disaster Response and Recovery Needs of Communities Affected by the Elk River Chemical Spill – West Virginia, 2013
  • Investigation of fatal opiate-related overdoses — Rhode Island, 2013
  • Investigation of NICU deaths in Hospital A — Panama, 2013
  • An epidemiologic and environmental investigation of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak associated with a family reunion — Georgia, 2013
  • Steroid contamination of nutritional supplements — New York, 2013
  • Investigation of a fatal, unknown, psychoactive substance-related intoxication — Colorado, 2013
  • Acute Hepatitis and Liver Failure Following Use of a Dietary Supplement — Multistate, 2013
  • Investigation of new cases of liver disease to characterize the outbreak, identify risk factors for illness, and assess exposure to PAs from food grains — Ethiopia, 2013
Ethan Fechter-Leggett (EIS ’13) and Sherry Burrer (EIS ’08) collecting surveys from volunteers during a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) following the Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia

Ethan Fechter-Leggett (EIS ’13) and Sherry Burrer (EIS ’08) collecting surveys from volunteers during a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) following the Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia

2012
  • Polio surveillance rapid field assessment — Kenya, 2012
  • Acceptance and understanding of National Weather Service NWS winter weather warnings — North Dakota, 2012
  • Evaluation of the impact of adult mosquito control during a West Nile virus outbreak — Texas, 2012
  • Community preparedness for emergencies — Michigan, 2012
  • Community health effects of mercaptan exposure — Alabama, 2012
  • Clinical Characterization of Case-Patients Identified as Part of an Outbreak of Fungal Infections Associated with Medications — Indiana, Virginia, 2012
  • Shelter Surveillance post Hurricane Sandy — New Jersey, 2012
  • Community experiences and perceptions of geothermal venting and emergency preparedness — California, 2012
  • Investigation after vinyl chloride release from a train derailment — New Jersey, 2012
Bryan Christensen (EIS ’10) and Matthew Lozier (EIS’12) sample for hydrogen sulfide and methane in a community where geothermal venting releases these gases into the air.

Bryan Christensen (EIS ’10) and Matthew Lozier (EIS’12) sample for hydrogen sulfide and methane in a community where geothermal venting releases these gases into the air.

2011
  • The body burden of environmental contaminants in a vulnerable population — Ethiopia, 2011
  • Evaluation of dogs as sentinels for human risk for Rocky Mountain spotted fever in an emergent area — Arizona, 2011
  • Elevated radiation exposure in patients following Rubidium-82 cardiac imaging scans — Alabama, Florida, Nevada, New York, 2011
  • Risk assessment for rabies PEP following exposure to a bat on an airplane — Wisconsin, 2011
  • Chlorine Gas Exposure at a Poultry Processing Plant — Arkansas, 2011
  • Heat-related illness among migrant farmworker populations — Southern Georgia, 2011
  • Investigation of a liver disease of unknown etiology — Tigray, Ethiopia, 2011
Danielle Buttke (EIS ’10) analyzing samples in Ethiopia

Danielle Buttke (EIS ’10) analyzing samples in Ethiopia

Ekta Choudhary (EIS ’09) in American Samoa for a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)

Ekta Choudhary (EIS ’09) in American Samoa for a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)

Page last reviewed: May 13, 2020