Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Researching the CDC

by Debby Giusti

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hosting the 59th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference this week, and I was there today to soak up all the great information about the outbreaks they've investigated this year.

Stephen B. Thacker, the Deputy Director for Surveillance, welcomed all those attending at the beginning of the morning, and at 10:15 AM, CDC Director Tom Frieden escorted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius into the ballroom. Ms. Sebelius commended the CDC on the great work they've done especially in regard to the H1N1 outbreak.

One year ago at EIS 2009, the scientists were discussing the first cases of a new virus first seen in California when news surfaced that Mexico had been hit with the same deadly disease. The CDC went to work, identified H1N1 and led our country's response to the crisis.

Although Ms. Sebelius' praise of the CDC was well-deserved, I was more interested in the four Secret Service agents protecting the HHS Secretary. Every suspense author loves a guy who carries a gun, and today I had a firsthand look at four members of our nation's finest security team, complete with communication earpieces and wrist radios.

My focus was directed to an especially burly guy, scanning the audience, until we locked eyes. He kept staring, and it wasn't because he thought I was cute so I turned my attention back to the podium. Ms. Sebelius wasn't nearly as intriguing, but I didn't want Mr. Secret Service to think I was up to no good. After all, I'm known to kill people daily...at least, on the written page.

I'm headed back to the conference tomorrow and hope to gather even more information that I'll use in future books. Deadly pathogens, foodborne outbreaks, pandemics...hmmm? I'm already thinking up new stories to write.

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Visit me tomorrow at http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/ where I'll be talking about Laptop Ergonomics.


EllenToo said...

Debby...I'm wondering if the secret service now has you under their microscope and is searching out your background. Beware of men in dark glassed following you around. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Ellen, they're on to me for sure!!! If you don't see me online, you'll know what happened!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Cindy,
Thanks for your kind words about my work.

I was back at the conference today, getting more ideas for future stories. :)