Posts Tagged ‘disease detectives’

AZ Disease Detective Software Overhaul

January 14th, 2014

Our statewide disease detectives (whose job it is to slow the spread of communicable diseases) need real-time electronic surveillance in order to get the job done.  Our I.T. folks and the people in Public Health Preparedness have been working on an upgraded system to help them for the last several months- and our new Medical Electronic Disease Surveillance Intelligence System (MEDSIS) went online last  week.  

MEDSIS allows all 15 county and 4 tribal health departments to monitor and manage infectious diseases.  Some hospitals in the state are tapping into the system as well.  This newest edition has a Spanish version so our counterparts in Sonora can enter data and we can track diseases that may pop up on both sides of the border – like influenza, Valley Fever and TB. 

The bottom line is we can now track these diseases more quickly and more accurately and we have something new in the toolbox to quickly discover an outbreak.  Many thanks to all the staff who worked so diligently on this project- including Nita Surathu, Javed Mukarram, Michael Conklin, Shandy Odell, Lloyd Kalicki and Victor Sanchez, Arup Sinha, Joe Enos, Noel Ramirez, Robert Howard, and Srinivasa Venkatesan.

Solve the Outbreak

March 4th, 2013

Check out CDC’s new iPad App, Solve the Outbreak, which lets you pretend you’re a disease outbreak investigator in the world-class Epidemic Intelligence Service by solving outbreaks based on real-life.  When new outbreaks happen, disease detectives are sent in to figure out how they started, before they can spread.  You get to investigate the outbreak and make decisions about confirming cases and implementing public health interventions like isolation and quarantine, social distancing, vaccine prioritization etc.  

The better your answers, the higher your score – and the more quickly you’ll save lives. You’ll start out as a Trainee and will earn badges by solving cases, with the goal of earning the top rank: Disease Detective.  Post your scores on Facebook or Twitter and challenge your friends to do better.  Download the free app today!  

BTW: Dr. Frieden (the CDC Director) paid us a visit during our monthly Local Health Officers meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  Check out the pictures on the Facebook.

ADHS’ Disease Detectives

July 25th, 2012

Awhile back, our epidemiology and licensing team of disease detectives including Jason Lempp, Cara Christ, Vinita Oberoi, Jessica Rigler, Ken Komatsu, Kathy McCanna, Connie Belden, Ken Komatsu, and Shoana Anderson learned of a severe case of a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  (MRSA) through our 24-hour disease reporting system.  Our team quickly contacted the county public health department which immediately began an investigation into the cause.  

Their investigation quickly uncovered more people with the infection who had been seen the same day.  The detectives also found that a single-dose vial of solution used for pain meds was diluted and used for more than one patient.  Medication shortages often push health-care providers to search for solutions to provide comparable care using limited supplies- which is what looks like happened in this case.  

Our work with the county led to an improvement in the clinic’s practices through discontinued use of mixed products; appropriate use of single dose vials; using personal protective equipment, such as face masks, during medication preparation and injections procedures; education of all staff on infection control practices; and the development of a plan to report further suspected infections.  This Arizona investigation was written up in this week’s CDC Feature Article and has added to the national picture on injection safety best practices. 

Note: Health-care-associated infections (HAI) affect nearly 100,000 people every year and result in over $30B in unnecessary health-care costs (HHS).  Our HAI Program works with partners across the state to rapidly identify and help prevent these infections. Traditionally, the focus of preventing HAIs has been in hospital settings, but more and more people are being identified outside of hospital settings.  They can happen at any health-care facility, but simple steps can help protect patients.