ATLANTA — In this video from the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, or EIS, conference, Howard Chiou, MD, PhD, MS, an EIS officer with the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, discusses an outbreak of wound botulism associated with heroin use, and the critical role the local police department played in the investigation.
According to Chiou, the cluster of cases caused concern that the local heroin supply was contaminated. Botulism is rare, but can occur in heroin use if the drug is contaminated, he explained.
“We were placed in this difficult conundrum because you can’t issue recalls of heroin,” Chiou said.
“People don’t generally think of working with local police as something that we do in public health, but we actually tend to work with them all the time. And for this particular outbreak, it was actually really important because they helped provide local intelligence, connections to the community and they really played a major role in our outreach response.”
Disclosure: Chiou reports no relevant financial disclosures.