Surveillance & Epidemiology
The Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
EMS supports the Division of Global Migration & Quarantine (DGMQ) to rapidly expand beyond its normal capabilities to meet the increased demand for professional services, subject matter expertise and medical care required to effectively control public health emergencies. Increasingly mobile populations around the world will continue to increase the introduction of diseases. The emergencies that EMS has addressed with the DGMQ includes tracking and containing Middle Eastern Respiratory Diseases Syndrome (MERS-CoV), the Ebola outbreak and the spread of Zika virus in North and South America. This critical area of EMS’ support aligns directly with the dimension of DGMQ’s public health mission that addresses preparedness and response as core approaches to drive down the probability that communicable diseases are introduced, transmitted, or spread.
DIGITAL DISEASE DETECTION
The ability to rapidly recognize and respond to both global and local health threats remains a critical public health priority. The ever-growing digital world represents an unprecedented opportunity to develop novel tools that provide solutions capable of mitigating public health emergencies. This digital means of disease detection has been made possible by the growing influence of internet technology, which has significantly changed the landscape of public health surveillance and epidemic intelligence gathering.
EMS recently attended the Digital Disease Detection Conference (DDD3) in Florence, Italy. This conference provided a platform to spotlight leaders in the field of DDD and brought together people from many disparate backgrounds and believe in advocating for DDD technology’s transformational properties in Global Health.
EMS’ contribution to the field of Digital Disease Detection
The BioMosaic Project was launched in 2011 and is a collaborative effort between the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Harvard University and the University of Toronto.
The BioMosaic tool melds complex data from multiple sources together in a visual format. This format greatly enhances CDC Public Health Officials’ ability to view census data, migration patterns, and health statuses simultaneously to help identify countries where international travel may give rise to emerging diseases. Using this information, the CDC can direct public health resources where they are needed most.
MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT FOR CHIKUNGUNYA AND DENGUE FEVER
EMS supported Digital Disease Detection requirements for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration & Quarantine (DGMQ) through the launch of the Kindenga mobile app. Kindenga, available on iTunes, was developed through a collaborative effort between EMS scientists in the CDC’s DGMQ and the University of Arizona. This app provides an early warning of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases in the region of the U.S.-Mexico border; the interface utilizes weekly user surveys to screen for the symptoms of the Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika. Postive user responses are pushed anonymously in real-time to HealthMap, the leading on-line resource for disease outbreak monitoring.
GLOBAL DISEASE DETECTION
EMS provides senior operational capabilities to the Global Disease Detection Operations Center (GDDOC) within the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP). EMS scientists provide guidance to this essential CDC platform that is dedicated to detecting and monitoring global public health events of international importance using event-based surveillance, and also provide a platform enabling CDC teams to respond to global outbreaks.
The GDDOC monitors outbreaks from infectious and non-infectious causes, including public health events attributable to disasters, intoxication, and chemical, radiological or nuclear events, to identify new or unexplained global public health threats and better position CDC to respond. Animal outbreaks of diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonotic diseases) are also monitored to assess whether emerging or re-emerging disease outbreaks among humans are occurring. To this end EMS provides senior epidemiological expertise to the GDD Operations Center. Specific functions include:
- Global risk- and event-based surveillance
- Operational and financial support for some of CDC’s international deployments in response to events for which international assistance has been requested
TEPHINET & EPICORE
EMS is a contributing member to TEPHINET (Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network) and EpiCore. EpiCore relies on the global knowledge of health professionals to verify emerging infectious disease outbreaks using innovative surveillance methods that can identify outbreaks more quickly. EMS leadership and professional staff are certified members of this organization and are helping shape Epicore’s path towards innovative surveillance strategies that foster dynamic responses to disease outbreaks. EMS’s contribution to Epicore is another example of our pursuit to help build a new Global Digital Disease Detection community capable of rapid response to global public health threats.