‘Disease detectives’ use high-tech sleuthing to protect us from pandemics
By Christina Hernandez Sherwood | March 15, 2012, 3:00 AM PDT
n April 2009, hundreds of epidemiologists gathered in Atlanta for an annual conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters. The attendees were current and future members of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), a two-year post-graduate training program that grooms “disease detectives” to investigate epidemics all over the world.
The week-long conference — part scientific convention, part job fair — brings together about 1,800 people each spring. While current EIS officers present their research from the field, new recruits who will begin training in July use the time to choose their ideal EIS assignment. “This is kind of like [fraternity] rush week on steroids,” said Douglas Hamilton, EIS director...