CDC programs improve global health security

July / August 2014 | Volume 13, Issue 4

Two researchers work in lab wearing white coats, gloves, masks on face and hair coverings.
Photo by Niki Pham/CDC Vietnam

CDC lab workers in Vietnam run diagnostic
tests.

Pathogens, toxins and bioterrorism are potential threats to global health security and the CDC is working with collaborators worldwide to guard against these foes. The aim is to provide the expertise and tools to prevent outbreaks in the first instance, and the capacity to quickly detect and respond to any that do erupt to limit their spread and impact.

In two new projects, CDC experts collaborated with health ministries in Uganda and Vietnam to update their infrastructure and systems, enhancing their countries' ability to tackle health threats. The main goals were to modernize diagnostic testing for high-risk pathogens, develop real-time information systems for faster outbreak response, and improve emergency operations procedures, such as steps for safely packaging and transporting specimens.

The CDC selected these two countries because of their unique health challenges. Uganda has a history of dealing with often-fatal diseases such as Ebola, Marburg, cholera and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, whereas Vietnam has experienced bird flu outbreaks and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

"Their success at rapidly adding new disease detection and response skills suggests that similar efforts could work for other countries," said CDC Director for Global Health, Dr. Tom Kenyon. "This is important in a world that regularly sees new pathogens."

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