NCEZID: Responding To Outbreaks

Close up of bacteria


Perhaps what NCEZID is best known for is responding to outbreaks of infectious disease. Here are a few large-scale responses that NCEZID has led since 2010:

  • First outbreak of Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere, which was linked to birth defects
  • Largest Ebola epidemic in history, which killed more than 11,000 people
  • Fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections
  • Second largest outbreak of West Nile virus infections that sickened 5,600 people in the US
  • Outbreak of cholera in Haiti, which killed at least 10,000 people

What we’re doing

NCEZID provides rapid assistance to states and foreign ministries of health through formal requests called epidemic-assistance investigations, or Epi-Aids. Each year, NCEZID conducts almost half (~25) of all CDC’s Epi-Aid investigations of outbreaks—large and small, domestic and international. Recent examples of Epi-Aids and other outbreak investigations that NCEZID participated in include:

  • E. coli (Escherichia coli) infections among children who visited a goat farm in Connecticut
  • Emerging, drug-resistant fungal infections (Candida auris) that spread among patients in healthcare settings
  • Rarely seen bloodstream infections (Elizabethkingia) in patients in Wisconsin
  • Illness caused by E. coli-tainted flour that infected people in more than 20 states
  • Listeria bacteria in packaged salads that hospitalized 19 people, killing 1
Accomplishments & Innovations

Find more information on accomplishments and innovations in Outbreak Response in these publications.