On Public Health Security - November 2014

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Highlighting the Latest on the Ebola Response


On Public Health Security
November 2014
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Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS

Dear Partners,

Since early 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been monitoring the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, ramping up efforts in July when CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, activated the Emergency Operations Center for the Ebola response. As of November 9, 2014, a total of 14,098 cases of Ebola (8,715 laboratory-confirmed) and 5,160 deaths have been reported.

On November 5, the White House asked Congress to consider an emergency appropriations request for $6.18 billion to support the entire U.S. government response to the Ebola outbreak. This funding will be used to:

  • Put into action a comprehensive strategy to contain and end the Ebola outbreak at its source in Africa;

  • Increase domestic preparedness;

  • Speed the development and testing of vaccines and therapeutics; and

  • Strengthen countries’ ability to prevent the spread of future infectious diseases.

The request includes $4.64 billion for immediate needs and $1.54 billion in contingency funding to respond to the evolving epidemic domestically and internationally. Under President Obama’s request, CDC would receive $1.83 billion to prevent, detect, and respond to the Ebola epidemic and other infectious diseases and public health emergencies at home and abroad. In the meantime, CDC continues to work with key partners to respond aggressively to the current epidemic. Highlights of these efforts include the following:

Travelers’ Health

  • CDC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have enhanced entry screening at U.S. airports to help prevent further spread of Ebola and to make sure that anyone sick with Ebola gets appropriate care immediately.

  • CDC has developed and distributed Ebola-specific travel messages for electronic monitors to reach inbound travelers from West Africa and posters for screening areas of airports to reach outbound travelers.

  • CDC has updated its guidance for monitoring and movement of people with potential Ebola exposure to create another layer of defense against the importation and spread of Ebola.

Partner Outreach

  • CDC holds partner outreach calls for many different audiences, including West African diaspora organizations in the United States, private businesses, hospital administrators, and healthcare worker and Emergency Medical Service employee associations.

  • CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response has a new Emergency Partner Response Resources website that includes transcripts and recordings of recent partner outreach calls.

  • CDC uses social media as a way to share credible, factual information, including holding social media Q&A sessions. In October, our first Twitter chat had an adjusted reach of 25.8 million with nearly 7,500 participants. CDC’s first-ever Facebook Q&A received more than 1,800 questions in the first hour.

  • CDC continues to update its communication products and webpages with new information on the Ebola outbreak for the general public and specific audiences.

  • CDC also works to counter stigma in the field and through media channels by sharing accurate information about how the virus is spread.

Boots on the Ground

  • Hundreds of CDC staff members are providing logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, management, and other support functions for the response in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, including surveillance, contact tracing, data management, laboratory testing, and health education.

  • CDC’s health promotion teams, consisting of health communicators and public health advisors deployed to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, are working closely with country embassies, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), ministries of health, and nongovernmental organizations to develop public health messages and put social mobilization activities into action.

“We're taking a series of steps to stop the spread of Ebola, and it is going to require many partners to do their part.”
—CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Partnerships are vital to the effort to stop the spread of Ebola. Together, we can fight Ebola—to ensure that more families, communities, and countries are not affected by this potentially fatal virus. Please continue to visit CDC’s 2014 Ebola Response website to stay up-to-date on current Ebola news and guidance. Thank you for your continued work and support.

Thank you,

Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS
Acting Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Noteworthy Resources

Partnerships Ebola Response Webpage

Visit the new Partnerships Ebola Response page to view Ebola response resources for partners.

So What? Telling a Compelling Story

Do you have a good story to share with the OPHPR Partnerships Team? Please use our story submission form to let us know about it.

Could It Be Ebola?

Healthcare workers can use the Could it Be Ebola? checklist to screen people suspected of having Ebola.

Is It Flu or Ebola?

With flu season upon us, this helpful infographic describes the differences between flu and Ebola.

Increasing Social Connectedness to Improve Community Resilience

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) created the ASPR Collaboration Community. This public forum for stakeholders is for discussing and sharing ideas about public health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery—including ideas on how to increase social connectedness to improve community resilience. Get involved and share your ideas through the ASPR Collaboration Community.

Public Health Reports: Special Supplement on Preparedness and Response

CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, is pleased to present a Public Health Reports supplement titled, “Outcomes from the Federal Investment in Public Health Systems Research to Strengthen Preparedness and Response.”

Upcoming Events

11th One Medicine Symposium

The 2014 One Medicine Symposium will be held in Durham, North Carolina on December 10-11 with the theme “Disasters and Diseases: A One Medicine Approach to Disasters.” The symposium will feature a range of topics related to disasters and emerging and zoonotic diseases.

National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference

The 3rd Annual National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference will be held on December 10-12, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. This year’s conference will highlight best practices of healthcare coalitions from across the United States.

2014 Unsung Heroes of Public Health Awards

For a fifth consecutive year, The Campaign for Public Health Foundation (CPHF) is reaching out to those working in public health to find, highlight, and applaud the best and brightest in the disease control and prevention arena. The CPHF will be accepting nominations for the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Public Health Awards until December 15.