Everyone realizes how hard it is to keep current these days. There’s a lot of information circulating out there and we are often simply overwhelmed trying to decide how to spend our precious time. In order to do our work safely and effectively, we need to keep up with the rapidly changing field of travel health, but how do we do this efficiently when there are so many demands on our time? One great resource I have discovered to help me do that is the Emerging Infectious Disease Journal Podcast from CDC.
These are great, short summaries you can download free of charge– here’s one called, “Why We Need West Nile Virus Testing”. It is only 5 minutes but it has a lot of substantive information. I downloaded it while out for a quick walk and returned a little bit smarter.
They vary in length but usually are pretty short, about 5-20 minutes. Some are directly related to my practice such as, “Dengue Returns”, “Neurocysticercosis – A Parasitic Brain Infection”, and “Unraveling the Mysteries of The Middle East Coronavirus.” Others provide fascinating background information, such as the ”Historical Prevalence and Distribution of Avian Influenza Virus A (H7N9) among Wild Birds” or “Rabies in Transplant Recipients”.
There are marvelous pieces with a historical perspective that you don’t find elsewhere such as , “75 Years of Histoplasmosis Outbreaks in the United States”, “Epidemiology of Human Plague in the United States :1900-2012”, and “The Past is Never Dead: Measles Epidemic, Boston, Massachusetts, 1713.” I found the last one really interesting – there are so many lessons to be learned from the past.
Finally, there are some I just simply can’t pass up including, “Zombies – A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness”, “Leprosy and Armadillos”, “Musings on Sketches, Artists, and Mosquito Nets” and “Pandemic Fear and Literature: Observations from Jack London’s “The Scarlet Plague.””
If those aren’t enough to convince you what a treasure trove this is, there’s even more good news. Anyone interested in further information can read the accompanying article because the journal is also free. CDC will actually send a hard copy to your house for people like me who can’t stand to read dense material online.
My favorite thing: they have beautiful works of art on the covers and always include a wonderful essay on how the art relates to the infectious disease topics at hand. How cool and imaginative is that? There are even podcasts about the art such as, “Art in Science: Selections from Emerging Infectious Diseases.”
The latest episode is very timely. In “Flu Days”, poet Peter Makuck reads his poem of the same name. Poetry and health care? It just doesn’t get any better than that for me.
Here’s to good handwashing!
Julie Richards, President