Disease Detectives : Planet Money As the outbreak of COVID-19 becomes officially classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we look at the role of the Epidemic Intelligence Service the CDCs "disease detectives".
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Disease Detectives

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Disease Detectives

Disease Detectives

Disease Detectives

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Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears in the thriller Contagion. Winslet's character was modeled on CDC epidemiologist Dr. Anne Schuchat. Claudette Barius/Warner Bro. Pictures hide caption

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Claudette Barius/Warner Bro. Pictures

Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears in the thriller Contagion. Winslet's character was modeled on CDC epidemiologist Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Claudette Barius/Warner Bro. Pictures

Note: A version of this story first ran on February 7, 2019

It's official: COVID-19 is a pandemic. The World Health Organization made that announcement today. It reminded us of a conversation we had last year with Dr. Anne Schuchat — the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — about an elite unit within the CDC that is focused on pandemics, and how to keep them in check.

This special team of epidemiologists is called the Epidemic Intelligence Service, also known by their snappier title: The Disease Detectives. Dr. Schuchat was a disease detective during the SARS outbreak in 2003. We talked to her about the work of the EIS, the risk of global pandemics, and what keeps her up at night.

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