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Emerging pathogens, diseases, outbreaks and fevers

Disaster medicine expert Dr. Alex Isakov weighs in on infectious diseases on the horizon

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This episode of EMS One-Stop With Rob Lawrence is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

This week, Host Rob Lawrence welcomes back, Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, executive director of the Emory Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), and EMS lead for the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC).

Returning guest, Dr. Isakov provides an update on the current emerging pathogens, diseases, outbreaks and fevers that have featured recently in the news. Candida auris, Marburg virus disease, avian influenza, Nipah virus are discussed as well as recaps on Ebola, COVID-19, polio and seasonal influenza.


“What’s concerning CDC officials and experts is there is a multi-drug resistant strain of Candida auris that is really picking up in their surveillance programs.”

“While no one wants to be exposed to a multi-drug-resistant Candida auris, it’s really the ominous compromised patient that’s going to be likely most affected by it, so that means elderly patients or patients that are getting chemotherapy and have some immunosuppression consequence of that or people that are taking immunosuppressant drugs, they are the ones really at greatest risk.”

“The likelihood that EMS personnel are going to encounter somebody with Marburg virus disease in the U.S. during routine operations is extremely low, but good to be vigilant about it and identifying that someone might have been exposed, and understanding their travel history, if someone is ill, has a fever or myalgia, GI complaints and has travelled within the last 21 days to equatorial Guinea or Tanzania, then it would raise suspicion.”


1:20 – What is NETEC?

3:50 – Candida auris

6:30 – Cleaning and disinfection

8:30 – Marburg virus disease

09:00 – Active Marburg areas

11:50 – The role of dispatch/call takers in identifying infectious disease and travel history

15:00 – Ebola – over or not?

16:00 – COVID 19 – the importance in being aware of it in the community

17:30 – Avian influenza

22:10 – Seasonal Influenza and vaccine efficacy

23:30 – Polio

24:30 – Nipah virus

27:10 – Following NETEC and the CDC



Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH, is a professor of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine in both emergency medicine and emergency medical services (EMS).

Dr. Isakov is the director of the Section of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine whose faculty provides medical oversight for 911 communications centers, and ground and air EMS responders in metropolitan Atlanta. He is also the executive director of the Emory Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), which serves as the center for Emory enterprise-wide planning for and coordinated response to catastrophic events.

Dr. Isakov has provided leadership in emergency medical services and disaster preparedness locally and nationally. He serves as the medical director for the Sandy Springs Fire Department and Air Life Georgia. He is the founding medical director for the Emory-Grady EMS Biosafety Transport Program. He is the EMS lead for the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC) and is a designated Subject Matter Expert for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE). Dr. Isakov is also on the American College of Emergency Physicians Epidemic Expert Panel and is a member of the EMS sub-board for the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He previously served on the National Association of EMS Physicians board of directors and the Technical Expert Panel for NHTSA’s EMS Agenda 2050.

Dr. Isakov has an MD from the University of Pittsburgh and an MPH from Boston University. He completed his emergency medicine residency training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and his EMS fellowship with Boston EMS. Dr. Isakov has lived and worked in Atlanta for 20 years. He practices clinically in the emergency department of Emory University Hospital.


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Read next:

How Candida auris – a deadly drug-resistant fungus – presents in patients

Long-term care facilities are at risk of becoming hotbeds of growth for the fungus that is rapidly spreading across the United States

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.

He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.

Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.

Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s State Association Forum. He writes and podcasts for EMS1 and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.