Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Leading the public health response to global outbreaks

By The Partnership for Public Service Published: August 31, 2012 Dr. Ali Khan is a disease tracker for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who has gone on the trail more than 40 outbreaks of mysterious infectious diseases and public health disasters over the past two decades, both here and abroad, seeking to identify causes, the extent of the infected populations and how to halt the spread of the disease. He has investigated hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, monkey pox, Rift Valley fever and avian influenza, to name a few. -snip- One of Khan’s roles is to help the CDC reach out to people and encourage them to put together an emergency kit, come up with an evacuation plan in advance and stay informed and help their neighbors during an actual emergency. With such preparation, he said, individuals and families will be able to take care of themselves for the first couple of hours and days after an emergency situation. A recent publicity campaign tried to drive the point home to a wide audience by playing off the popularity of zombies. “If you’re prepared for a zombie apocalypse, you’re prepared for anything,” Khan said, explaining the concept behind the tongue-in-cheek blog campaign. That includes hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear accidents and public health emergencies. The CDC is using the blog to convey the serious message that people should be ready not only for all major crises, but for more routine situations too, such as flu, whooping cough or wildfires. “I thought it was brilliant,” Sharfstein said. “It helps people understand the concept of all-hazards preparedness.” Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/leading-the-public-health-response-to-global-outbreaks/2012/08/31/dd7e10f4-f3a9-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html

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