Tag: Epidemic

Epidemic Curves and Homicide Counts in Baltimore

One of the tools that we use in the investigation of outbreaks is the epidemic curve, or, as we say in the biz, the “epi curve.” An epidemic curve is a simple graphical representation of the number of cases per a unit of time over a span of time. For example, you could graph the number of new cases of diarrhea…


Here is some very thoughtful commentary from Dr. Amir Attaran published in Harvard Public Health Review.


Here’s the clincher from that opinion article:

“Which leads to a simple question: But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half a million visitors into Brazil right now? Of course not: mass migration into the heart of an outbreak is a public health no-brainer. And given the choice between accelerating a dangerous new disease or not—for it is impossible that Games will slow Zika down—the answer should be a no-brainer for the Olympic organizers too. Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.”

I agree. Either Zika in South America and the Caribbean is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, in which case the games must not proceed… Or it isn’t. It is, and the games should not be carried out because the danger is real of the virus being taken back home by athletes and visitors.

Days of a pandemic

I found these pictures in one of my hard drives today. They’re from the very early days of the 2009 influenza pandemic. I was the influenza surveillance coordinator at the state health department at the time. I decided that I was going to document as much of those days as I could. I didn’t have a good camera or good phone with a good camera. But I managed to take these candid shots. Enjoy…

Ebola continues to spread just slightly slower than fear

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa continues to spread. With over 3,000 cases and 1,552 reported deaths (as of August 31, 2014), the seriousness of the outbreak cannot be ignored. While Ebola Zaire is the one causing this outbreak, additional cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo are raising fears that the contagion is spreading, even as scientists have…

Ebola is in the United States, now what?

The fascination with Ebola continues, and it has reached a fever pitch (no pun intended) now that Americans with it are being brought to the US for treatment. Everyone who knows nothing about Ebola is convinced that bringing those Americans back will trigger an epidemic here. This is very unlikely, and, if we check the numbers, we have bigger things to worry about.