CDC opens investigation after 35 test positive for Covid following CDC conference

Disease detectives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a new outbreak: About three dozen cases of Covid-19 were linked to their own annual conference last week.

“CDC is working with the Georgia Department of Health to conduct a rapid epidemiological assessment of confirmed COVID-19 cases in conjunction with the 2023 EIS conference to determine transmission patterns,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund wrote in an email to The Washington Post. .

Nordlund said the CDC reported the cases to state health officials with jurisdiction over the location of the convention. Participants said many in the crowd did not wear masks, social distance or other precautions recommended by the CDC ahead of the pandemic.

Less than 100,000 Confirmed cases of covid Last week across the U.S. — the lowest levels in nearly two years — were reported. But public health experts warn that most cases go unmonitored, with many Americans testing at home and choosing not to report the results. The virus is a top 10 cause of death this year, mostly in elderly and immunocompromised individuals.

A CDC conference saw an outbreak of Covid cases — for the first time, experts said A group of detectives Held in person over four years – explains Persistence A budding virus. A four-day conference for Epidemiological Intelligence Service officials and alumni held last week near CDC headquarters in Atlanta drew about 2,000 participants who could be fully vaccinated.

“This is, unfortunately, the new normal,” Jay Verma, an infectious-disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine, wrote in a text message. “While it was disturbing to see the widespread spread of COVID-19 at the CDC’s premier public health conference, it was an even clearer example of the global situation.”

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Verma added that individuals and organizations should continue to take Covid precautions to protect themselves and protect the most vulnerable as needed. “I believe that organizers of large conferences, especially health professionals, should, at a minimum, make abundantly available high-quality masks and toilet paper and ensure that there is adequate ventilation and/or air disinfection,” he wrote.

About 35 people connected to the conference tested positive on Tuesday, Nordlund said.

“Conducting a rapid investigation now will help us understand the outbreak and refine future public health guidance as we move out of the public health emergency and into the next phase of COVID-19 surveillance and response,” he wrote. “Whenever there are large gatherings, especially indoors, at conferences, even during periods of low social transmission, there is potential for the spread of COVID-19.”

Conference attendees received an email from the CDC encouraging them to participate in a survey with the Georgia Department of Health, according to an email shared with The Post.

“If you attended the conference in person, you may have been exposed to someone with Covid-19,” the email said. “If you experience symptoms, we recommend following CDC guidance for isolation and testing.”

The Biden administration is scaling back its response to the pandemic, with most federal vaccination mandates and the coronavirus public health emergency lifted next week. Although the risks of infection have been greatly reduced, public health experts say they are cautious about future variations, noting that the virus continues to evolve.

For example, A new omicron subtype, XBB. 1.16, nicknamed Arcturus, is increasing in prevalence throughout the Americas. The latest CDC tracker shows that Nearly 12 percent of cases across the country For the week ended April 29, it was up about 7 percent from the week ended April 15. Most infections in the US now come from XBB. 1.5, an omicron subtype.

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