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CDC Director addresses area physicians about global health protection

By Julie Bierach, KWMU

SAINT LOUIS, MO – The Director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Julie Gerberding is addressing the graduating class at Washington University's School of Medicine.

Earlier in the day, Gerberding addressed a group of physicians and researchers about the threats to global health protection in the 21st century. Some of the threats she discussed include; the West Nile Virus, a flu pandemic and global warming.

In an interview following her talk, Dr. Gerberding commented on the recent Heparin recall.

Physicians at St. Louis Children's Hospital were the first to report allergic reactions to the blood thinner. Their reports eventually led to an international investigation.

According to the FDA, the contaminated heparin is linked to animal cartilage that was found in raw supplies of the drug from China. Gerberding said she's still concerned that all lots of heparin have not been removed.

"We're encouraging everyone to go to the FDA website to get information about what lots need to be removed," said Dr. Gerberding. "I'm not aware of any recent cases but, of course, we're maintaining a high degree of vigilance and investigating anything that looks like it could be a case."

The FDA has linked at least 81 deaths and hundreds of severe reactions to the contaminated blood thinner.

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