National Press Club

Prevention of Infectious Diseases Requires Great Care CDC Head Tells NPC Audience

July 23, 2014 | By Connie Lawn |

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) spoke at the National Press Club Tuesday about current worldwide health threats from infectious diseases.

He recalled his personal experience of having become ill from bacterial infection while traveling overseas and learning that the bacteria was resistant to antibiotics. Fortunately he was a healthy adult and his own immune system was able to clear the infection.

Frieden used this example to illustrate that great care in the use of antimicrobial medications is essential to properly protect both sick and healthy people from infectious diseases. He also used his own experience as an infectious disease investigator to explain how constant exposure to danger can contribute to underestimating the risk of laboratory accidents with the bacteria and viruses which can cause human epidemics.

He answered many questions from the audience regarding CDC strategy for strengthening laboratory safety and for working more closely with the healthcare system to ensure that both prevention and treatment of infectious diseases are optimized.