What's Up with the CDC?

Following up on my post the other day regarding quarantine policy, here's an informative interview with the CDC's Rachel Barwick Eidex on the agency's quarantine authority and policy. Note that this interview is from Feb 2006, so it's not in reference to the Andrew Speaker case, though it is relevant. Interestingly, she says that the list of diseases one can be quarantined for must be established by a presidential executive order. The most recent addition to that list (as of 2006) was pandemic influenza in 2005. And while I'm on the CDC and tuberculosis, I'm very intrigued by the way Andrew Speaker is fighting back and claiming that the CDC and local health authorities were inconsistent in their diagnoses and recommendations. The CDC, meanwhile, is curiously silent. Take, for instance, this week's MMWR. I expected that this issue would include some discussion of tuberculosis, given the national attention this case has brought to the disease. It seems like basic PR - take advantage of the public's appetite for information and do some education via the media. So I found it interesting that the latest dispatch [PDF LINK] from June 8 says nothing whatsoever about TB. Nor did the June 1 issue. Maybe the CDC thought it said everything it had to say with the March 23 issue, which was dedicated to TB for World TB Day.

But I have to say my advice would've been to include at least a reference to that material. At best, it's a missed opportunity. (Mr. Speaker is winning this PR war in my opinion.) At worst, it looks like the CDC is trying to avoid the most covered case of infectious disease in years.

Thomas Goetz1 Comment