Infectious Diseases

One of EMS’s most robust core competencies is in the field of infectious disease. EMS’ corporate leadership and many of its professional staff are infectious disease specialists.  EMS programs in Epidemiology & Surveillance, Bioinformatics, Digital Disease Detection and Public Health Communication are all aligned with diminishing the spread of infectious diseases globally.


“Supporting global health is good for Americans’ health. It’s good for Americans’ health because stopping epidemics and environmental and other threats to health overseas and foreign countries before they spread to our shores is not only the most ethical, but also the cheapest and most effective way to protect Americans.” – Thomas R. Frieden, Director of the CDC. November 22nd, 2011. Remarks at the UN Foundation Dinner

EMS continues to provide scientific and technical expertise to establish high quality international laboratory systems and services.

EMS has provided over 6 years of scientific and professional services in support of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV & Tuberculosis (DGHT) and has recently been awarded a new 5-year IDIQ contract, through a competitive procurement process. This IDIQ aims to continue our efforts of preventing the spread of HIV globally. The CDC’s DGHT is a key U.S. government implementer of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It provides direct peer-to-peer technical, financial, and program service delivery assistance to Ministries of Health (MoH) in order to:

  • Build sustainable public health information, laboratory, and management systems and local workforce capacity
  • Expand quality care and treatment service delivery, and transition these services to local host government ownership
  • Implement effective and evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs that build synergies between prevention, and care and treatment programs
  • Conduct, translate, and operationalize research on program impact and cost effectiveness.

The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic.

The following poster was presented at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington DC and co-authored by two of our senior scientist that support DGHT’s International Laboratory branch (ILB).

Evaluation of the Point-of-Care Pima CD4 Assay and Specimen Collection Methods at PMTCT and CTC Sites in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania 2011

This poster was presented by EMS at the International AIDS Society Conference on July 18th, 2012.


The point-of-care (PoC) Pima CD4 Assay can reduce the time for CD4 staging, minimizing pre-treatment loss to follow-up of patients and increasing patient ART initiation within a reduced time period (Jani et al.1, Zachariah et al.2). Determining the test reliability and appropriate collection method for the assay is fundamental prior to its implementation in HIV/AIDS Control Programs. This evaluation compares the performance of the Pima CD4 Assay using specimens
collected from 1060 patients by three different methods and tested using the Pima assay at the site of its intended use in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Global Disease Detection Laboratory Team

EMS provides senior leadership to meet the operational objectives of the Global Disease Detection Laboratory Team (GDDLT) within the CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP).  To this end, EMS Senior Scientists collaborate with the Ministries of Health (MoH), staff from GDD, DGHP, and CGH (including GDD Centers and other countries requesting GDD technical assistance) and other Center Institute Offices (CIOs,) and external partners to assess partner country laboratory system capacity and needs, and assist in the development and implementation of country-specific laboratory system enhancements. This encompasses providing not only providing technical assistance to GDD leadership but gives oversight to GDD’s cooperation with host-countries as it relates to policy.

As a technical resource, EMS trains specialists and mentors in a broad range of clinical and public health laboratory disciplines with particular emphasis on laboratory systems, microbiology bench training, laboratory establishment, and strategic planning for Global Health Security.

Emergency Response – Tracking and Containing Pandemics

EMS - Infectious DiseasesEach year, close to 60,000 refugees and 500,000 immigrants come to the United States from around the world. Standards of care, access to healthcare and treatment, and exposure to infectious diseases differ around the world. The CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) works to keep infectious diseases and other diseases of public health significance from coming into and spreading in the United States. To accomplish this goal EMS provides a large staff of public health professionals focused on:

  • Developing and maintaining infectious disease surveillance systems for immigrant, refugee, and migrant populations coming to the United States
  • Conducting disease surveillance and outbreak investigations
  • Providing leadership and technical assistance in response to outbreaks
  • Dissemination of health information on migrants and refugees to state and local public health partners through the Electronic Disease Notification system for follow-up care
  • Overseeing the Migrant Serum Bank, a collection of anonymous immigrant and refugee blood specimens from which samples can be requested for research

Scientific & Technical Writing

EMS has an exceptionally talented team of scientific and technical writers that directly Biosupport the Senior Editors, the Steering Committee and the Guest Editors for the development and publication of the “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories” (BMBL) 6th edition at the CDC. 5th edition BMBL 

The CDC and the National Institutes of Health collaborate as the coeditors of the 6th edition of the “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories” reference manual in both physical and electronic versions. The BMBL is a set of biosafety best practices in promoting the safety and health of workers in biological and medical laboratories. These practices have become the gold standard for biosafety practices in the United States and throughout the world. The 5th edition of the BMBL was published in December 2009. EMS is currently providing Scientific/Technical Writing and administrative support for the refinement and publication for a standard and digital publication of the BMBL 6th edition.

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