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CDC’s Top Health Issues of 2014
It’s been an unprecedented year for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as Ebola is far from the only critical mission CDC undertook in 2014.
“CDC’s Ebola response is the largest global effort in the agency’s history, but we’re carrying out many other public-health missions crucial to protecting American lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We’re taking action on a wide range of health threats.” It should be noted that the two Ebola deaths were both Black men, Thomas Eric Duncan and Dr. Martin Salia.
CDC’s 10 most important public-health challenges of 2014:
Mission: New Infectious Disease Threats
- With 170 staff in the field and more than 700 people working on Ebola at any one time, CDC’s response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest in the agency’s history. “Americans will be 100 percent safe only when we succeed in stopping Ebola at its source in West Africa,” Dr. Frieden said.
- CDC has made important progress against antibiotic resistance, but it remains a serious threat. Combatting antibiotic resistance and preventing healthcare-associated infections remains a critical initiative for 2015.
- Enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68) is a previously rare virus mostly affecting American children, and is particularly severe in children with asthma. CDC’s intense investigations into EV-D68 have been sped by a CDC-developed rapid lab test that can for detect the virus.
- Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), a new viral respiratory illness that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, showed a dramatic increase in cases during 2014. “In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make its way to the United States. We have been preparing since 2012 for this possibility,” Dr. Frieden said.
Mission: Continued Fight against Infectious Diseases:
- The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to be one of the world’s most important public health challenges. CDC is a primary partner in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides support to more than 60 countries to build capacity for their national HIV/AIDS programs. Through PEPFAR, CDC has helped support life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million people and supported HIV testing and counseling for more than 56.7 million people during fiscal year 2014.
- The world is on the brink of eliminating polio, but we risk losing hard-won ground.
Mission: Laboratory Safety
- Laboratory incidents during 2014 raised national awareness of the importance of laboratory safety.
Mission: Leading Causes of Death
- Nearly 800,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular diseases.
- Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year.
- A silent epidemic of fatal overdose kills 44 people every day in the US. In 2014 CDC joined with partners to improve prescription monitoring, reducing unnecessary prescriptions.