CDC's 65th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference Under Way
The Atlanta conference for EIS officers includes sessions on Zika, e-cigarettes, chronic diseases, serious illnesses associated with the synthetic cannabinoid MAB-CHMINACA, visitor injuries from with bison in Yellowstone National Park, and more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 65th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference began on Monday. Taking place May 2-5 in Atlanta, the conference will include presentations on investigations by CDC EIS officers, who are known as "disease detectives," and sessions on the Zika virus, e-cigarettes, and non-traditional investigations into injury, environmental health, and chronic diseases. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH, was scheduled to open the conference May 2, followed by presentations by members of the recently created Laboratory Leadership Service, with Dr. Margaret Hamburg, M.D., former FDA commissioner and currently a foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, presenting the Langmuir Lecture, the preeminent public health lecture in the United States.
EIS officers will make presentations on their investigation into the Guillain-Barré Syndrome outbreak in Bahia State, Brazil, this year, Zika virus diseases in several U.S. travelers returning from visits to Pacific islands, and the current Zika outbreak in Puerto Rico. Other presentations on the agenda include these:
- "Getting Too Close to Wildlife: Risk Factors Associated with Injury from Bison Encounters." This presentation focuses on Yellowstone National Park visitor injuries during 2000-2015 that were associated with bison in the park. CDC and the National Park Service noted that people injured by bison generally were within 9 feet of the animal, and about half were taking photos at the time. To protect people and bison, the park requires people to view bison at a distance of 75 feet.
- "Severe Illness Associated with a Novel Synthetic Cannabinoid." A clinician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson noticed an unusual number of patients seeking emergency care after using synthetic cannabinoids, and CDC helped to investigate those cases. Of the 721 cases and nine deaths statewide, investigators examined the records of 119 UMMC patients, including three deaths, and found 71 percent tested positive for a synthetic cannabinoid – and more than three fourths of the positive tests identified MAB-CHMINACA, a potent synthetic cannabinoid. Investigators called the outbreak "unprecedented in magnitude and severity."
- "Invasive Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Infections among Cardiothoracic Surgery Patients." This presentation is focused on an investigation of heater-cooler units used to regulate body temperature during open heart surgery that may have exposed some 1,300 patients to nontuberculous mycobacteria infections at a Pennsylvania hospital, according to CDC investigator.
- A specials session on e-cigarette advertising. Invited speakers will address four different perspectives on e-cigarette advertising to young people: social marketing tactics targeted to youth, e-cigarette advertising exposure among middle- and high-school students, comparing marketing claims to laboratory evidence, and policies that might reduce e-cigarette advertising exposure among youth.
The conference, taking place at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, is a primary forum for EIS officers to present their epidemiologic works. National and international participants represent EIS officers, their mentors, EIS alumni, and public health professionals.