How Scientists Prevent Disease Outbreaks With Early Detection

As the year comes to a close, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looks back to forecast potential health threats and outbreaks for 2014.

The most significant accomplishments in 2013 were the outbreaks that did not occur and were prevented, as well as the countless lives saved from preventable chronic diseases and injuries, according to the CDC.

“While our biggest successes may be the bad things that did not happen, careful assessment of what we did well – and what we might do better – is essential for continued success,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., and M.P.H.

Top 2013 accomplishments include:

  • The “Tips from Former Smokers” tobacco education campaign was a huge success.
  • Advanced Molecular Detection Initiatives (AMD)
  • The Million Hearts® Initiative, which helped prevent a million heart attacks.
  • Over 12,000 facilities now have the ability to track healthcare-associated infections.
  • Contributions to the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which prevented the infection of the millionth baby with HIV.
  • The ability of the United States to detect diseases both at home and abroad before they become widespread outbreaks is a major concern for 2014. The AMD initiative’s use of supercomputers and forensic DNA identification of infectious agents is a critical component of this effort.

“Investment in world-class technology is a wise investment in U.S. health security,” Dr. Frieden said. “American lives, and American’s economic stability depends on CDC quickly detecting and fighting superbugs.”

While technology is an important aspect of global health security, only one out of every five countries has the infrastructure and resources necessary to detect and prevent global health threats.

Relationships with other countries must improve if global health threats are to be effectively prevented.

“With patterns of global travel and trade, diseases can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours,” Dr. Frieden said. “That’s why the ability to detect, fight, and prevent these diseases must be developed and strengthened overseas, and not just here in the United States.”

Purchasing life insurance is a simple but effective way to protect one’s family in the event of a global health threat. If something were to happen to you, a life insurance policy would ensure your family’s financial security.

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