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CDC: U.S. Should Fight Infectious Diseases with Other Countries

Update Date: Jan 31, 2014 09:34 AM EST
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For certain tasks, working in teams as opposed to working alone could help improve results and boost efficiency. In a new report by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the researchers found that in order to fight infectious diseases effectively and prevent them from spreading, the U.S. should work with other countries.

"We are all connected by the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, and stopping outbreaks where they start is the most effective and the least costly way to save lives," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said reported by NBC News. "And it's the right thing to do."

The report outlined the findings of a six-month long pilot program in which U.S. health officials helped track infectious diseases from March to September 2013. For the program, the CDC first set up demonstration projects in two different locations, which were Uganda and Vietnam. In Uganda, the researchers focused on tracking Ebola and AIDS. In Vietnam, the common diseases were H5N1 bird flu, cholera and enterovirus 71. From this close monitoring, the health officials were able to identify cases of West Nile virus, Zika virus, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever virus, hepatitis E virus, and a meningitis-causing bacteria early on and treat them accordingly.

"The Uganda Ministry of Health and CDC implemented upgrades in three areas: 1) strengthening the public health laboratory system by increas­ing the capacity of diagnostic and specimen referral networks, 2) enhancing the existing communications and information systems for outbreak response, and 3) developing a public health emergency operations center," the CDC team wrote.

The recommendation that preventing the spread of infectious diseases is more effective when all countries work together could be tested with the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. At the games, people from all other the world will come into contact with one another, which increases everyone's likelihood of contracting some kind of infectious disease.

Frieden added, "It does just emphasize that we are all connected - that a virus anywhere in the world is just a plane ride away."

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