The September 2015 issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseasespdf icon journal commemorates the 20th anniversary of CDC’s signature Emerging Infections Program (EIP) in 2015. This special issue of the journal will feature articles on various EIP activities, highlighting how this vital network has strengthened the science base and informed public health policy.
The Emerging Infections Program (EIP) was established in 1995 in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 1994 strategy, Addressing Emerging Infectious Disease Threats: A Prevention Strategy for the United States pdf icon[PDF – 23 pages]. An updated plan was released by CDC in 1998, Preventing Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Strategy for the 21st Century pdf icon[PDF – 19 pages], which described the important role assumed by the EIPs in addressing emerging infections.
EIP is a network of 10 state health departments (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Tennessee) and their collaboration with academic institutions, federal agencies, public health and clinical laboratories, infection preventionists, and healthcare providers. The EIP population is roughly representative of the U.S. population on the basis of demographic characteristics such as age, gender, race, and urban residence, as well as health indicators such as population density and percent at or below the poverty level.
The EIP network is national resource for surveillance, prevention, and control of emerging infectious diseases. EIP activities go beyond routine functions of health departments by:
- Addressing important issues in infectious diseases and selecting projects the EIP network is particularly suited to investigate,
- maintaining sufficient flexibility for emergency response and addressing new problems as they arise,
- developing and evaluating public health interventions and transferring lessons learned to public health agencies,
- incorporating training as a key function of EIP activities, and
- giving high priority to projects that lead directly to the prevention of disease.
The EIP network’s unique strength and contribution lies in its ability to quickly translate surveillance and research activities into informed policy and public health practice. For example, EIP work has been instrumental in the nation’s post-licensure evaluation of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, evaluating and honing strategies for preventing severe disease in newborns caused by Group B Streptococcus, developing methodology to estimate ranges of 2009 H1N1 influenza cases and related hospitalization and deaths, and defining the rapidly changing epidemiology and growing burden of MRSA. The network has generated more than 510 publications with data obtained from core EIP activities, Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs), FoodNet, Influenza projects, and Healthcare Associated Infections – Community Interface projects, as well as other special studies.