Updates

New Firefighter Cancer Registry Will Help to Monitor Cancer Incidents

On July 7, President Trump signed the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2018. The Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry of firefighters. Information in the registry will be used to improve monitoring of cancer incidents among firefighters and to collect and publish information about the occurrences of cancer among this population.

Center for Health Security Designs New Health Security Track for DrPH Program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security have developed a new degree track at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for US and international students who are passionate about taking a leadership role in preventing, detecting, and responding to epidemics and other disasters.

FDA Approves the First Drug With an Indication for Treatment of Smallpox

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved TPOXX (tecovirimat), the first drug with an indication for treatment of smallpox. Though the World Health Organization declared smallpox, a contagious and sometimes fatal infectious disease, eradicated in 1980, there have been longstanding concerns that smallpox could be used as a bioweapon.

Using Trauma-Informed Care to Guide Emergency Preparedness and Response

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) collaborated with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a trauma-informed care training for CDC. SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care developed and led a new training for OPHPR employees about the role of trauma-informed care during public health emergencies. The training aimed to increase responder awareness of the impact that trauma can have in the communities where they work.

U.S. and Canada Kick Off Joint Next Generation First Responder Initiative With Artificial Intelligence Field Experiment

A new initiative kicks off to evaluate the use of artificial intelligence and situational awareness technologies during critical incidents. The effort is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Canada’s Department of National Defence science and technology organization to ensure both American and Canadian next generation first responders are better connected, protected, and fully aware during critical incidents.

Improving Disaster Response Through Twitter Data

Twitter data could give disaster relief teams real-time information to provide aid and save lives, thanks to a new algorithm developed by an international team of researchers. A team of researchers from Penn State, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the Qatar Computing Research Institute created an algorithm that analyzes Twitter data to identify smaller disaster-related events, such as infrastructure damage or shelter needs, and generate highly accurate, real-time summaries that can be used to guide response activities.

FDA Takes Action to Support American Military Personnel by Granting an Authorization for Freeze-Dried Plasma Product to Enable Broader Access While the Agency Works Toward Approval of the Product

The U.S Food and Drug Administration announces that an emergency use authorization (EUA) has been granted to the U.S. Department of Defense to enable the emergency use of pathogen-reduced leukocyte-depleted freeze-dried plasma. The use of freeze-dried plasma is authorized for the treatment of hemorrhage or coagulopathy of U.S. military personnel during an emergency involving agents of military combat.

FLIR Announces identiFINDER R200-GN Spectroscopic Personal Radiation Detector With Neutron Capability

FLIR announces the FLIR identiFINDER® R200-GN spectroscopic personal radiation detector (SPRD). The rugged, pager-sized FLIR identiFINDER R200-GN SPRD can detect and identify neutrons, in addition to gamma radiation, allowing front-line responders to quickly determine whether there is a true radiation threat for safe, informed decision making.

HHS Enlists AktiVax to Develop Improved Auto-Injector for Nerve Agent Antidotes

One of the drugs stockpiled by the U.S. government to save lives from chemical nerve agents needs a new auto-injector so the drug can be used quickly and safely without specialized training if an attack occurs in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work with AktiVax Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, on developing a new device to easily administer a drug that reverses damage inflicted by organophospates, a class of chemicals that include nerve agents such as Sarin and VX.

NIAID Responds to Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

On 8 May 2018, the DRC reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease – a serious and often fatal illness – in Équateur Province in the northwest part of the country. As the U.S. government’s lead agency on biomedical infectious disease research, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is providing several layers of support to the DRC and World Health Organization, which are leading a global, multi-sectoral response to the outbreak.