In each issue of the Epigram, we are pleased to introduce to you a member of the Disease Prevention and Response team at SRHD. In this issue we feature longtime epidemiologist Dorothy MacEachern, MS, MPH, CIC, a dedicated employee of SRHD for 20 years. Dorothy is currently an Infection Preventionist funded by the CDC working with local healthcare facilities to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
Some of the largest and most publicized public health events of the last several decades are profiled in the CDC’s web series “We Were There” – Toxic Shock Syndrome, E. coli O157 outbreak of 1993, ending polio in America, the first Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak in 1976, and others. This fascinating lecture series outlines in detail the behind-the-scenes investigation process and the invaluable contributions from public health in solving and stopping considerable morbidity and mortality from disease outbreaks.
In 2017, the SRHD Immunization program, in partnership with schools and community partners, provided 2,567 vaccines through its Mobile Immunization Clinic model.
Though having slowed in recent months, several recent widespread hepatitis A outbreaks have affected states across the country, including long-term outbreaks in California and Michigan, and more recently Utah, Colorado and Kentucky. These cases have occurred primarily among persons who are experiencing homelessness, persons who use injection and non-injection drugs, and their close direct contacts. Homelessness is a particularly significant risk factor, as the lack of access to restrooms and sinks results in poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions. People experiencing homelessness may also have underlying health conditions or drug addictions that might make their infections more severe.