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May 16, 1990

Two-Way Street Links Ever-Smaller World Spanned by CDC's Epidemiologic Efforts

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2569-2570. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190019006

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IN the global village, it is CDC physicians who make house calls.

"Peace Corps types" is how the CDC's public affairs director, Don Berreth, describes the epidemiologists who hop an international flight at the drop of a hat when asked to assist in solving an out-of-the-ordinary health problem.

From the Union Carbide industrial disaster in Bhopal (JAMA. 1985; 253:2001-2013) to the mysterious toxic oil syndrome in Spain, CDC investigators often have been among the first on the scene. Medical emergencies took them to 20 countries on five continents during the past year alone.

And, in turn, scientists from around the world come to Atlanta, Ga, for the unique epidemiologic training that the CDC can provide. More than 1000 came from 119 countries in 1989.

There may be an occasional cultural clash or diplomatic gaffe, but "our reputation is such that usually an apology will suffice," says Joe Davis, MD, director