(RxWiki News) This time of year often brings up reflection and goal setting, even for the country's health agencies. As the year draws to a close, health successes and challenges were evaluated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a list of its health accomplishments achieved during 2013 and the top health concerns facing the nation in 2014.
Concerns to be monitored during the upcoming year include drug-resistant bacteria and the global nature of disease.
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High on CDC's list of accomplishments included progress in Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) programs — something that could potentially play a central role in fighting a key concern for 2014.
"AMD combines two powerful technologies (DNA or molecular sequencing and advanced computing) to solve complex infectious disease mysteries — the who, what, where, when, and how killer microbes harm people," explained CDC.
In 2013, pilot AMD programs helped CDC track and trace a Listeria outbreak back to the contaminated cheese that caused it.
The agency is hopeful that those same AMD programs will help in the face of some of 2014's major threats — the rise of drug-resistant pathogens (like antibiotic-resistant bacteria), the emergence and spread of new microbes and the globalization of travel and food supply.
In the CDC release, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of CDC, highlighted the fact that this globalization makes AMD even more important — not just at home, but abroad.
“With patterns of global travel and trade, disease can spread nearly anywhere within 24 hours,” said Dr. Frieden. “That’s why the ability to detect, fight, and prevent these diseases must be developed and strengthened overseas, and not just here in the United States.”
While global issues might top the list for next year's concerns, plenty of progress was made to improve health at home this year. Some of CDC's other top successes for 2013 included making progress in the effort to prevent a million US heart attacks and strokes.
Strides in this department included successful ads with tips from former smokers to help current smokers quit, efforts to improve blood pressure control and the Food and Drug Administration's CDC-supported stance on partially hydrogenated oils as generally unsafe.
CDC estimated that the removal of these partially hydrogenated trans-fats from the American food supply could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks and save up to 7,000 lives each year.
In line with these hopes for prevented heart attacks, CDC noted that this year's biggest successes might just be the the health events that didn't happen.
"CDC’s most important achievements in 2013 are the outbreaks that didn't happen, the diseases that were stopped before they crossed our borders, and the countless lives saved from preventable chronic diseases and injuries," the agency explained.