Inside the Outbreaks

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In this post I want to address disease control opportunities for EIS officers, many of which are detailed in “Inside the Outbreaks: One of the first things we learned about on joining the EIS was John Snow’s determination that an outbreak of cholera in London was attributable to contamination of the water from the Broad…

Karen Starko writes: Several basic questions related to Reye’s syndrome (RS) have come to me from readers of Mark’s book, Inside the Outbreaks. These show the importance of continued education on health issues. (For example, some physicians thought that fever was essential to getting RS). Again, thanks to Mark Pendergrast for a wonderful addition to…

The Power of Comparison

Steve Schoenbaum writes: In his blog this week, Mark Pendergrast challenges someone/anyone to take on explaining the differences between case-control studies vs. cohort studies. As an EIS officer, back in late May/early June 1968, I did a case-control study as part of the investigation of a common source outbreak of hepatitis in Ogemaw County, Michigan,…

Karen Starko writes: When the “financial crisis” started and the news media started throwing around numbers in the trillions and projected fixes in the billions, I realized I just didn’t get it. So I got a little yellow post-it, labeled it “understanding trillions,” and started a list of examples. And when I learned that the…

Liz Borkowski writes: Mark Pendergrast wrote yesterday about how politics plays into the work of the EIS, and it’s something that I kept noticing as I read Inside the Outbreaks. As he points out, my post last week highlighted the solution to the Reye’s Syndrome puzzle – which was solved by Karen Starko, who’s also…

Why would anyone do this work?

What is it that drives people to public health in general and to EIS in particular? Public health is notorious for being the lowest paid medical specialty of all. In addiiton, when you work to prevent diseases and injuries you don’t have identified patients the way you do when you are treating patients. So why…

Karen Starko writes: Even though I am a former EIS officer I am still amazed by the many successes of the EIS that Mark Pendergrast so clearly details in Inside the Outbreaks, The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. As I reflect on the outbreaks and epidemics described in the book and my…

Epidemiology Superheroes

Liz Borkowski writes: Mark Pendergrast’s Inside the Outbreaks: The Elite Medical Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service is a fast-paced tour through nearly six decades of epidemiology achievements by this relatively small program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a fast and fascinating read, and its episodic structure makes it an easy…