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CDC′s Disease Detectives: Global Health Sleuths Battle Contagion Worldwide

Lab Man in bubble

In Steven Soderbergh′s 2011 thriller Contagion, Dr Erin Mears, played by actress Kate Winslet, is a "disease detective," racing to help stop the lethal devastation unleashed by an unknown, airborne virus. Although her character is fictional, the dedication, grit and steely determination she displays in the face of what seem like insurmountable odds are truly representative of real–life scientists and health professionals. CDC′s (EIS) staff are the elite global health sleuths.

EIS officers are epidemiologists, laboratorians, statisticians, veterinarians and doctors. In the event of a suspected disease outbreak, they are called on to answer the question: what is causing people to get sick? Once they find the cause, they keep looking to answer key questions: How can we prevent disease from spreading and how can we prevent another outbreak? They are on CDC′s front lines, working 24/7 to save lives and protect people from health threats.

CDC′s Epidemic Intelligence Service is a unique two–year, post–graduate program of service and on–the–job training for health professionals interested in the practice of epidemiology, the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations.

Every year, CDC selects 70 to 80 individuals from among the nation′s top health professionals to enter the program and pursue on–the–job training in applied epidemiologic skills.