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Our Latest News and Events.
-- Measles Outbreak Stresses Importance of Vaccines --
A measles outbreak is sickening dozens in the western United States and Mexico, and the highly dangerous and contagious disease continues to spread. The number of cases linked to the outbreak was at 52 as of Monday, January 19, with Orange County, California the hardest hit. Cases have also been found in the California counties of San Diego, Los Angeles, Alameda, Ventura, Riverside, Long Beach, San Bernardino, and Pasadena, as well as in Utah, Washington, Colorado, and across the border in Mexico.
Measles is very infectious, potentially deadly disease, and can be especially severe in babies and toddlers. A highly effective and safe vaccine was introduced in the United States in 1963, and the disease was considered largely eliminated in the United States by 2000. But 2014 saw the largest number of cases in the United States since 2000, with 23 outbreaks resulting in 644 cases in 27 states.
The best way to prevent future outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases is to make sure everyone is vaccinated. People who are not vaccinated put themselves and the community around them at risk. If you have young children, or you yourself have not been vaccinated, for measles or any other vaccine preventable disease, please speak to a physician about receiving immunizations today.
January 13th 2015
-- 5 year Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake --
This past weekend marked the 5-year anniversary of the January 12, 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck Haiti, leaving over 200,000 people dead, 300,000 people injured, and well over 1 million people displaced from their homes. Five years later, the country still has not fully recovered, with thousands of people still living in displacement camps, piles of rubble all over the country, and lingering public health issues such as a cholera outbreak that is still infecting thousands of people each year. The catastrophe unleashed an unprecedented amount of aid - over 13 billion dollars from other donor nations and private charities - but the recovery process is still far from complete.
This anniversary is a chance for everyone to remember that there is no wrong time to prepare for a disaster. While we may not be able to predict or prevent all disasters, we can still be ready when they strike. Whether in Haiti, the United States, or anywhere in the world being prepared for all types of disasters can help reduce damage and speed up recovery time.
NCDMPH is proud to have supported, and to continue to support, Haitians on their long road to recovery. For more information about earthquakes in general, please visit our Resilience through Learning - Earthquakes page. If you would like to learn more about the ongoing recovery process in Haiti, and how you can help, please visit the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Haitian Earthquake Overview page.
January 7th 2015
-- NCDMPH Launches New Influenza Page --
The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) recently created a new page: Resilience Through Learning - Influenza, with resources relevant to protecting people from and preventing the spread of seasonal influenza during an already severe 2014-2015 flu season. The page is part of the NCDMPH Resilience Through Learning series, which provides NCDMPH and outside resources centered on specific all-hazards events. Other disaster types in the series include Winter Weather, Wildfires, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, and Explosions & Mass Gatherings.
The page includes resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), among others. Information on the page is relevant to both the current flu season and influenza in general, and has links to specifics about flu prevention, flu treatment, and public health impacts of the flu.
Visit our Influenza page for more information, and remember, it’s not too late to get your flu shot today!
December 23th 2014
-- TFAH Releases Report Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases --
The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) recently released a new report titled Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases. TFAH is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. The report finds that the recent Ebola outbreak exposes serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to manage severe infections disease threats.
25 states, as well as the District of Columbia, scored five or lower out of 10 indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and responding to outbreaks. The top score was eight out of 10, achieved by Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia, while the lowest scoring state was Arkansas with two out of 10.
Infectious diseases cost this country more the $120 billion each year, and worldwide, they are the leading cause of death of people under the age of 60. Global infectious diseases such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak, as well as more localized issues such as Enterovirus D68, HIV/AIDS, and seasonal influenza all demonstrate the need to be ever vigilant and always prepared against infectious diseases.
The Center is proud to continue working with TFAH towards a better prepared healthcare system. To learn more about the report, and the threat and cost of infectious diseases, please visit the report’s home page.
Stakeholders are directed to the following US Government websites for Ebola preparedness and response information and guidance:
December 16th 2014
-- NCDMPH Attended NHCPC 2014 —
National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health staff recently returned from the 3rd annual National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference. The conference, from December 10-12 in Denver, Colorado, focused on a wide variety of topics in disaster preparedness, and provided opportunities for all the attendees to learn and share about the implementation of healthcare coalitions and coalition activities in our communities. Among the speakers were leaders from a number of fields, including general healthcare, public health, emergency medical services, emergency management, and healthcare coalitions.
In addition to attending presentations and discussions on a wide range of issues, we were delivering our own presentation, "Education & Training in healthcare Coalitions: An Interactive Discussion", as well as presenting a poster, "Translating Research to Practice: Producing Preparedness Learning Content". Both were a huge success, and allowed us to interact and open dialogues with other healthcare coalition members and leaders.
December 9th 2014
-- More Severe 2014 – 2015 Flu Season is Possible --
Based on early data this season, CDC health officials theorize that this year’s flu season may be more severe than normal. The season has only just begun, but a large percentage of flu samples tested thus far are of the H3N2 subtype of influenza, and years in the past in which the H3 subtypes were more common tended to lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. Moreover, about half of those H3 subtypes are a new subtype that this season’s flu vaccine does not protect well against.
There are simple preventive measures that can decelerate the spread of flu. The most effective method of preventing infection or reducing flu symptoms is getting the flu vaccine. While the estimated flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) for the current vaccine could be less than in the past, even a moderate effectiveness can reduce flu symptoms, time lost from work, and use of antibiotic treatments.
In addition to receiving the vaccines, there are other ways to prevent infection. Frequent hand washing, keeping your hands away from your mouth, and avoiding people who show symptoms of the flu are effective. Symptoms can include: fever, sore throat, aches, fatigue, and muscle soreness. If you have a fever, avoid going to work or school for at least 24 hours or until the fever breaks.
If you are at high risk for flu-related complications and experience flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Your provider can prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started within two days of the onset of flu symptoms.
A larger version of the map shown above is located at CDC's FluView.
December 2nd 2014
-- NCDMPH Releases First Public Annual Report --
The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health recently released its annual report covering the period from March 2013 to February 2014 . This is the center’s fifth annual report, and the first one that has been released to the public.
The report covers the wide range of activities undertaken by the Center during the year, including outcomes and impacts, current tasks, partnerships, outreach, and selected future plans. Among these were hosting a national disaster health workshop, launching a webinar series focused on disaster learning, and continuing partnerships with numerous organizations and government agencies.
This annual report is a valuable vehicle for explaining our mission, and offering more transparency to our current and future stakeholders. Learn more about how we aim to meet our mission, and about all the efforts and activities that have gone on and are going on at NCDMPH, by reading the report.
November 25th 2014
-- NCDMPH at APHA 2014 --
Last week, National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health staff members attended the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition. The conference, from November 15 - 19 in New Orleans, focused on a wide variety of topics in public health. In an area so recently devastated by both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there were an assortment of presentations related to disaster preparedness and recovery, and a number of disaster health leaders speaking.
In addition to attending numerous meetings and presentations with our colleagues from other public health organizations around the country and around the world, we were presenting our poster "Role of Local Public Health in Disaster Recovery: Successes and Challenges after Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy". The poster was a huge success, and through it we engaged with a wide array of conference attendees, including people from the areas most affected by the storms we focused on, and a number of international conference participants.
November 18th 2014
-- Stay Warm and Stay Safe this Winter --
Much of the country is in the midst of the first major cold snap of the season this week, and with December and winter right around the corner, people in regions all around the country are going to be dealing with the first snow of the year, as well as cold temperatures, high winds, freezing rain, and other winter hazards. In winter 2012-2013, NCDMPH compiled a list of 12 winter preparedness tips to help you stay safe, here is that list updated for winter 2014-2015:
November 7th 2014
-- CDC Releases Journal Supplement --
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) recently released a supplement to the United States Public Health Service’s Public Health Report #29, entitled Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers: Outcomes from the Federal Investment in Public Health Systems Research to Strengthen Preparedness and Response.
The supplement focuses on examples of the work conducted by the CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Centers (PERRCs), demonstrating how public health research improves our understanding of how to improve our preparedness for and response to disasters.
From 2008-2014, CDC, granted $57 million to sponsor research programs at nine PERRCs at accredited U.S. schools of public health. The findings from these research projects as detailed in the supplement will be used to help improve public health practice for preparedness and emergency response planning and policies at the local, state, federal, and tribal level.
NCDMPH salutes CDC and ASPPH for their continuing efforts to improve disaster readiness and response all across the nation.
For those interested in learning more about the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) Extramural Research Program, please visit Extramural Research Program (ERP).