CDC looks back at 2013 health challenges, ahead to 2014 health worries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s job is to detect health threats, stop outbreaks, and prevent illness and injury.  As 2013 comes to a close America’s health protection agency looks back at top five health concerns in 2013 and previews the five health threats that loom for 2014.

CDC’s most important achievements in 2013 are the outbreaks that didn’t happen, the diseases that were stopped before they crossed our borders, and the countless lives saved from preventable chronic diseases and injuries. 


“While our biggest successes may be the bad things that did not happen, careful assessment of what we did well – and what we might do better – is essential for continued success,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.


CDC’s top accomplishments included the life-saving Tips tobacco education campaign; a pilot study supporting the technologies and methods of the proposed Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) initiatives; the Million Hearts® Initiative to prevent a million heart attacks; progress in curbing healthcare-associated infections; and contributions to the U.S. President’s Plan for Emergency AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which prevented the one millionth baby from being infected with HIV.

However, much more needs to be done.  CDC sounded the alarm about the potential loss of antibiotic protection from bacterial infections, the slow uptake of the anti-cancer human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, the growing epidemic of prescription opiate addiction, the perfect storm of emerging infectious disease threats, and the final push for global polio eradication.

CDC’s 2013 accomplishments include: Demonstrations that new AMD technologies and methods can detect outbreaks sooner, stop them faster, and prevent them better.  Through piloting AMD technologies and methods, the use of whole-genome sequencing allowed CDC to quickly track and trace a Listeria outbreak from contaminated cheese.

Progress in efforts to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes: Tips from Former Smokers ads increased calls to quitlines far beyond CDC’s ambitious goals.

With CDC support, the FDA published its tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils – the primary source of dietary trans-fat -- is not “generally recognized as safe.”Its removal from the food supply could save up to 7,000 lives and prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks a year.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES