This Wall Street Journal article was written by Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. While COVID-19 preoccupies us at the moment, it is crucial to begin thinking about the next inevitable pandemics. Dr. Frieden explains that in the years after COVID-19, it is likely that another infectious disease, possibly a similar pneumonia-like illness, suddenly emerges. Will we be ready?
Over the summer, I met with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and his colleague, Dr. Herbert Zöllner, in Munich, Germany to learn about the structure of public health institutions and emergency preparedness in Germany.
Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states. Each individual state is responsible for public health, as well as other matters including policing and education. I wanted to understand how Germany, and in particular the individual states, organize themselves to prepare for public health emergencies. Continue Reading
Flu shots for the 2019-20 season are out. Go and get yours! It’s the best prevention that’s available for now. I got mine on Labor Day at my local pharmacy, which proved to be a good decision as there were no lines with people still away for the holiday. Continue Reading
As of yesterday, New York City has declared a public health emergency in response to a widespread measles outbreak in Brooklyn. Measles is a viral infection that can be very dangerous for small children, but has been preventable with a vaccine since the 1960s. Common measles symptoms include a cough, runny nose, fever, and a red skin rash. Measles symptoms do not appear until 10 to 14 days after the initial exposure, which allows for easy transmission of the virus during the initial days of infection. Continue Reading
To anyone interested in the topic of public health, a visit to the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Atlanta is a must for two reasons:
1) The exhibit provides a comprehensive, yet easy to understand overview of the history and the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2) It shows the various battles fought against global diseases in the past and in the present, in great detail.