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May 16, 1990

CDC Veteran Upholds the Bottom Line: Prevention

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2614-2616. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190070033

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THIRTY YEARS at the CDC are being celebrated by Walter R. Dowdle, PhD, this year, and throughout all of them the present deputy director has devoted his efforts to increasing the agency's preeminence in epidemiologic and laboratory surveillance, investigation, and research.

"We're here to get results," says this man who has had fingers in more epidemiologic pies than most people. "The idea is the bottom line, and that's reducing the amount of death and disability due to a particular disease."

Starting in 1960 as a supervisory research microbiologist in the CDC's Respiratory Virology Unit, Dowdle worked first on respiratory viruses that affect children and then on influenza. There followed (1967 and 1968) "one of the cleanest, nicest experiments that we've ever done," he says. Dowdle and colleagues developed the test that showed for the first time that there were two types of herpesviruses: "All those of type 1 were above