May 15, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) today released a 3-day online course to teach state and local public health officials how to respond to human cases of H5N1 avian influenza.
The course, titled "CDC/CSTE Rapid Response Training: The Role of Public Health in a Multi-Agency Response to Avian Influenza in the United States," is available on the CSTE Web site. It consists of six modules that cover surveillance, case management, personal protective equipment, poultry farm investigation, management and public health action, and laboratory issues. The downloadable materials include lectures, presentations, case studies, tabletop exercises, and other items.
Jennifer Lemmings, deputy director of programs for the CSTE, told CIDRAP News the materials are freely available to individuals or groups and are designed to meet the multidisciplinary needs of a wide range of public health professionals. Though the course is intended to provide 3 days of group instruction, the modules can be shortened or modified to meet the needs of different public health workers.
The online course was developed from courses that the CDC and CSTE conducted early this year in Washington, DC, Denver, and Atlanta. A key component of the training is coordination between veterinary and human public health agencies at all governmental levels, the CDC said in a press release today.
"The unique aspect of the training is that it brings together human and animal health professionals, who would work together as part of a multidisciplinary response to an avian influenza threat," said Joshua Mott, an epidemiologist in the CDC's influenza division who led the course development. "Importantly, this training also teaches public health response skills that are applicable to other emerging diseases."
The CDC and CSTE developed the online curriculum with educators at the North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness. Support for the regional courses and the online adaptation came from a $2 million grant from the CDC.
No human or avian infections with the lethal strain of H5N1 have been reported in North America. Birds in 58 countries have tested positive for the virus, while 12 countries have reported human H5N1 cases.
May 15 CDC press release