NCEZID: Deadly Infections

Scientists investigating bats in a cave


Germs that cause serious diseases like Ebola, anthrax, rabies, and smallpox, also called “high-consequence pathogens,” require expert oversight. NCEZID places a high priority on understanding and tracking these diseases domestically and globally, operating state-of-the-art laboratories to identify, investigate, and prevent their spread.

What we’re doing

  • NCEZID studies diseases caused by highly hazardous bacteria (like anthrax) and viruses (like Ebola). For example, scientists continue to conduct follow-up studies with survivors of the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic to learn what long-term symptoms they may face, how long the virus can persist and certain body fluids, and why some people are better able to survive Ebola.
  • NCEZID scientists also investigate unexplained illnesses and deaths. This work has led to the identification of new infectious diseases, such as SARS and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
  • An important part of the mission to keep deadly diseases at bay is to investigate and find new ways to prevent zoonotic infections that spread between animals and people. Although rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease, close to 60,000 people die from the disease around the world each year. The NCEZID Rabies Team has traveled throughout the world to reduce rabies in countries like Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Haiti, where rabies from dogs is still common.
Accomplishments & Innovations

Find more information on accomplishments and innovations in Deadly Infections in these publications.