Field Notes from FETPs Fighting COVID-19: May 2020

Tina Rezvani, Communications Manager

Photo courtesy of EpiSUS


Brazil Field Epidemiology Training Program - EpiSUS

Trainees and mentors from all three levels (Frontline, intermediate, and advanced) of the EpiSUS program are responding to COVID-19. EpiSUS trainees are conducting field investigations and analyzing data to support decision-making as well as the production of a weekly COVID-19 bulletin. These analyses include the epidemiological profiles of COVID-19 in health professionals, hospitalized patients, pregnant women, children and adolescents, and the elderly; toxic shock syndrome and mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome (Kawasaki disease) in children; and an evaluation of the quality and timeliness of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Sentinel Surveillance System in Brazil in the first 100 days of 2020.

In addition, EpiSUS trainees have been conducting field investigations, including: monitoring returning travelers from Wuhan during quarantine in Anápolis, Goiás (February 2020); characterization of cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Pernambuco (April-May 2020); investigation of COVID-19 deaths without laboratory testing and rapid testing (IgM/IgG) in Manaus, Amazonas (May 2020); investigation of COVID-19 deaths without medical assistance in Manaus, Amazonas (May 2020); and a description of the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in a penitentiary in the Federal District (May 2020).

Link: COVID-19 dashboard by the Ministry of Health of Brazil

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Photo courtesy of CAFETP


Cameroon Field Epidemiology Training Program - CAFETP

Trainees and graduates from both levels (Frontline and advanced) of CAFETP are responding to COVID-19. Eighty percent (622) of Frontline graduates and 74 percent (78) of advanced graduates are involved in the response. The program is embedded within the COVID-19 National Incident Management System, particularly in the areas of leadership, operations, planning, and logistics.

CAFETP is performing mass door-to-door testing, raising public awareness of COVID-19, and conducting active case finding. Nearly 560 CAFETP trainees and graduates are involved in responding to alerts, contact tracing, case investigations, specimen collection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and infection prevention and control (IPC) activities for health staff, patients, and the public.

CAFETP is training health staff at points of entry, screening passengers, and tracing contacts of quarantined travelers. In the laboratory, CAFETP is involved in coordination and logistics, training, and diagnostic testing. CAFETP is also monitoring cases in isolation and in health facilities and reinforcing IPC measures. While responding to COVID-19, the program is also responding to concurrent outbreaks such as cholera and monkeypox.

Epidemic Intelligence Service - EIS

All 130 Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers currently are engaged in the COVID-19 response. Forty are assigned to state and local health departments, and the remaining 90 are working through the incident management structure at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and deploying at the request of state and local health departments.

EIS officers are working on a number of activities, including screening at points of entry, assisting at quarantine stations, and participating in clinical consultation teams to guide physicians and healthcare workers with the diagnosis or management of patients with COVID-19. They are also working on surveillance activities, contact tracing, developing guidance, and conducting investigations to generate data to aid understanding of the virus in various settings across the United States. In addition, hundreds of EIS graduates are working around the country on the response either with CDC, with state and local health departments, or with other organizations involved with the response.

Link: COVID-19 Information and Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Recent articles featuring the work of EIS officers on COVID-19:

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Photo courtesy of LFETP


Liberia Field Epidemiology Training Program - LFETP

Nearly 150 LFETP Frontline and intermediate trainees and graduates are serving as COVID-19 case investigators and supervisors at the health facility, zone, district, county, and national levels. LFETP graduates are leading epidemiological surveillance preparedness and response at the county level. The program’s faculty and advanced trainees are supervising 22 Zonal Surveillance Officers and 10 District Surveillance Officers and training officers-in-charge and health facility surveillance focal persons in case detection and investigation in Montserrado County.

Seventeen Frontline trainees are conducting a review of acute respiratory illnesses from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. LFETP advanced trainees are conducting an in-depth analysis of COVID-19 deaths in Liberia. LFETP faculty are providing technical support for epidemiological surveillance and data management. Faculty are also supporting case detection at triage and the development of decision flow charts and case definitions. In conjunction with faculty, advanced trainees are providing technical support for the development of standard operating procedures and terms of reference for coordination purposes.

Intermediate-level LFETP trainees are supporting rapid IPC assessment at selected health facilities and points of entry and working on a COVID-19 risk perception study.

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Photo courtesy of the Philippines FETP


Philippines Field Epidemiology Training Program - FETP

Philippines FETP trainees and graduates are involved in country-level coordination, planning, and monitoring; surveillance, rapid response teams, and case investigation. Their activities have included monitoring the repatriation of Filipino travelers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, working with GOARN (the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network) on contact tracing and data analysis, and leading the establishment of an incident command system for COVID-19 surveillance and contact tracing. They are conducting contact tracing and sampling and have investigated cases in mental health hospitals and prisons with teams from the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross.