Monday, November 30, 2009

CDC Trip 5: The 2nd Atoll

The 2nd week, we went to another atoll. This one had an island with a lot of American influence, so it was much more developed. It seemed like it would be quite pleasant to live here.

Here is the residential part of the island.

This is the public beach.

This was after a little snorkeling at the beach.

We had a BBQ at the beach with one of the local doctors.

We had fish, vegetables, and veggies on the BBQ. It was delicious!

99% of people use bikes to get around, although it's small enough to walk everywhere.

I had the opportunity to go sport fishing while I was there. I got a greeting before we left from the competition for the fish.

There were a lot more of them at "shark's cove."

Out on the sea.

This was an old sunken ship (the grey part you see).

According to local tradition, you have to eat the raw heart of the first fish you catch, or you will have bad luck fishing for the remainder of your days. That was a challenge I couldn't resist (and only me on my team). They got a kick out of it so took a bunch of pics of me in action. I also learned how to gut a fish and basically prepare it for cooking.

I got the heart in my hand.

Hmmm, not too bad.

Not bad at all.

This is the ferry we used to commute to the less developed island every day.

And here is the neighboring island where we did our work. It was very different from the island I was staying on.

It's a beautiful island with clear clear water.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CDC Trip 4: The Work

It wasn't all play. But as soon as we got there, we were greeted by members of the local public health program who gave us a greeting ans some gifts.

The work was to investigate an outbreak of a disease. Our group split into 2 groups. One group (the epidemiology team) went and interviewed friends and family of people with the disease to find out how they might have gotten the disease and who they might have given it to. Once you find out who they might have given it to, you test those people for the disease. On this island, there were often over 30 people living in one house, which meant a lot of people needed to be tested. If any of those people have the disease, then you set up treatment for them.

There was another group (the surveillance team) that tried to find any people who might have the disease that haven't been recorded. I was on this team for 2 of the 3 weeks I was there. We looked through hospital records, emergency room records, public health records, and tried to find any people that might have the disease. We put all their information into the computer.

Most of my work pictures are of me looking through the patient records and putting data into our data set. I also had the responsibility of taking care of the master list and cleaning it up, getting it ready for analysis. These next few pictures are of the team working on the patient records.

We had a lot of computers working together.

The second week I got to be on the epidemiology team and go out and interview family and friends. It was a bit more exciting because you get to go out and be with people. We had to use translators as English is somewhat common but limited.

Here we are working with some children.

This is our transport to get from house to house.

Now we are working with some adults.

Back to the office. That's a lot of records (maybe 1/2 of what we were looking through).

Getting some testing done. The local public health workers eventually did most of the work after they were trained.

Here we are working on island #2.

More records to look through.

On the right is hundreds of x-rays to examine.

A drink from a coconut was quite a refreshing break.

Looking through some x-rays with one of the MD's on my team.

These next 2 I posed for specifically to send to the CDC for advertising for my program, The CDC Experience Applied Epidemiology Fellowship.

This last picture was from a team member. Some of the interviews were in really remote islands with no roads besides what is seen. This is as developed at this island got.