Recent Work

Our Work - 2019

JAMA article and podcast on next-generation sequencing of infectious pathogens
A man working at a workstation

A new JAMA articleExternal describes ongoing advances being made by CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program in the field of next-generation sequencing. JAMA also posted a related clinical review podcast episodeExternal in which two of the article’s authors discussed the potential next-generation sequencing holds for improving clinical and public health microbiology.

New training videos on hantavirus and Lassa fever offer free Continuing Education
Lassa fever banner with images of disease and doctor checking off a list of how to recognize and diagnose the disease.

Hantavirus disease is an uncommon illness in people, but it can cause severe or even fatal disease. While cases have occurred in most states across the country, incidence is highest in the west. CDC, in collaboration with Navajo Nation, Indian Health Service, and the Arizona and New Mexico departments of health, created a hantavirus training video for healthcare providers in the Four Corners region. This video focuses on the risk factors, clinical presentation, and methods for identifying hantavirus disease, as well as parameters for clinical management.

While viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) like Lassa fever are very serious, they are not commonly seen in the United States. However, it is important for healthcare providers to understand high-consequence viruses such as Lassa so they can appropriately diagnose and care for their patients. CDC created two training videos for healthcare providers to learn about Lassa fever risk factors, incubation period, clinical presentation, diagnoses, treatment, and infection control measures for Lassa fever patients.

Arctic Investigations Program and Alaska Native partners take a jab at the flu

DPEI’s Arctic Investigations Program (AIP) works closely with Alaska Native partners to improve the health of Alaska and Arctic residents. They do this through research, surveillance, outbreak investigations—and flu shot clinics! For the past 10 years, AIP has set up shop at the health fair attached to the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, the largest gathering of Native peoples in the United States. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Southcentral Foundation are organizations that provide health services to Alaska Natives. They provide the vaccine doses and AIP’s medical staff run the clinic. This year, staff administered 450 doses to anyone who requested it, including many repeat customers and US Senator Dan Sullivan.

CDC revises dog importation policy

On January 31, CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine published the Rabies-Free Dog Importation GuidanceExternal and updated the Importation Laws and Regulations webpage to add the Federal Register Notice. Since canine rabies virus variant (CRVV) was declared eliminated in the United States in 2007, federal importation regulations have successfully prevented reimportation of CRVV into this country, even though other rabies viruses still circulate among some wildlife species. The new policy focuses on the presence or absence of CRVV in the country the dog is coming from and the risk of reintroduction of CRVV into the United States. Requiring rabies vaccination of dogs from countries with high risk of CRVV transmission helps prevent CRVV from entering the United States, thereby lowering the risk of CRVV infection among humans.

Outbreaks of Salmonella infections
Image of a hedgehog
Update on Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo
A bat hanging upside down

The Ebola outbreak in DRC continues to be a significant area of effort for CDC staff. The outbreak has been ongoing for over five months and has grown to 733 cases and 459 deaths (as of January 27th). Community resistance and security concerns continue to hamper response activities, and the recent general elections created even more tension in the area and throughout the country. CDC is working closely with partners to explore new approaches for strengthening the response and containing the outbreak.

A U.S. citizen was evacuated from DRC for observation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center following a high risk exposure. Luckily, the citizen completed their observation period without exhibiting any symptoms.

In addition, a new studyExternal out of China describes the characterization of a distinct filovirus (the virus family which includes Ebola and Marburg viruses) discovered in bats, named Měnglà virus (MLAV). It’s not yet known if MLAV could cause disease in either animals or people.

Drug-resistant infections in Mexico

CDC posted a travel notice about recent cases of carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections among US residents who had invasive surgery in Tijuana, Mexico. Most of the patients had undergone bariatric procedures, and approximately half had surgery at the Grand View Hospital in Tijuana. As a result of the investigation, the Mexican government closed the hospital until further notice. CDC recommends that travelers to Tijuana not have surgery at this hospital until the Mexican health authorities can confirm that the drug-resistant form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is no longer present there.

AR Investment Map updated
Two pdf covers for AR invested map solutions

CDC has released new data in its Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Investment Map, which showcases CDC’s funding in fiscal year 2018 to support efforts that protect people from antibiotic resistance in the United States and abroad. For the first time, the tool includes CDC’s extramural global AR activities and highlights successes that followed Congress’ unprecedented investment in CDC’s AR Solutions Initiative.

The AR Investment Map features

  • Global and domestic extramural collaborations to identify and implement innovative solutions to protect people from the threat of antibiotic resistance.
  • More than 170 state-reported successes (e.g., containing rare and concerning resistant germs to protect communities and stop dangerous germs from spreading).
  • Printable global-, state-, and city-specific fact sheets that describe how CDC invests in activities in that area.
Trapping bats in Uganda to learn about Marburg
Scientist in Python Cave in Uganda

Python Cave in Uganda is not only home to snakes, but to thousands of Egyptian fruit bats. Several recent human cases of Marburg virus – a close cousin to Ebola – have surfaced with links to these bats, and nearby villages have experienced devastating outbreaks. To better understand how Marburg virus is spread, CDC worked with Ugandan experts to put GPS units on the backs of bats to track their movements. By learning where the bats travel at night, we hope to better predict which areas are most at risk for Marburg and stop the next outbreak before it ever starts. Watch the videoExternal about the journey and read a Washington Post articleExternal by Lena Sun, who followed along with the team.

New report on antimicrobial resistance in the environment

CDC, with UK Science and Innovation Network and the Wellcome Trust, recently released a report summarizing existing scientific evidence on how antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant germs can be present in the environment from human and animal waste, pharmaceutical manufacturing waste, and use of antimicrobial pesticides for crops. The report shows that more research is needed and describes actions to address knowledge gaps. Find the report here under CDC Collaborations.