Making a Powerful Connection: the Health of the Public and the National Information Infrastructure. 6.6 Scenario 6: International Database Speeds Diagnosis and Treatment of Drug-Resistant Pneumonia


A public health laboratory scientist in Louisiana identifies a virulent and drug-resistant strain of pneumonia not previously seen in that state. Consulting the World Health Organization's international database of drug resistant diseases, the laboratory scientist determines that it is probably one that has been previously identified in Indonesia and the Netherlands. There is no record of other cases in the United States. Through e-mail, the scientist notifies the patient's physician, suggesting a multi-drug therapy that was effective in the Dutch cases. He also informs the state epidemiologist, updates the international database, and sends a priority message to the CDC. The epidemiologist investigating the case determines that the patient recently flew to New Orleans from Amsterdam. She adds this information to the international database and informs CDC.