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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of August 27, 2017


#1: CDC Quarantines Potentially Defective Equipment

A recent 60 Minutes report is drawing attention to potentially defective equipment stockpiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although this special first aired in 2016, it was re-run the week of August 8, 2017, which brought forth the question of, “what is being done?”

The special focused on personal protective equipment (PPE) that was being stockpiled by the CDC for use against future outbreaks or public health emergencies, such as treating an influx of Ebola patients during an outbreak. The 60 Minutes investigative team filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents regarding MicroCool gowns that are part of the US Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The SNS, according to the CDC, is the “nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.”

The filing of the Freedom of Information Act request is especially prudent as a group of hospitals were recently awarded $454 million in damages from PPE manufacturers Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health (formerly a division of Kimberly-Clark) after a jury found they were liable for fraud and defects within the MicroCool gowns. The 60 Minutes team reached out to Halyard. Their chief operating officer Chris Lowery responded that, “We get less than one complaint for every million gowns sold," Lowery said. "And...we've never received even one report of a healthcare professional contracting an infection as a result of a flaw in our product.” Halyard and Kimberly-Clark are reportedly challenging the court’s decision. 

Read more about the quarantine, here.
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Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.