Generally, preventing a pandemic means driving lengthy stretches from hospital to hospital throughout the desert.
Different instances, it might probably imply handing out a toy to assuage a nervous baby.
Dr. Vikram Krishnasamy has carried out each within the months since COVID-19 hit america. Krishnasamy, a CDC medical officer, has been within the subject twice—first to assist repatriate Individuals getting back from Hubei Province, China, the place the pandemic started; and once more to assist the tribal authorities of the Navajo Nation, which sprawls throughout three Southwestern states.
In that second deployment, Krishnasamy was one in every of a couple of half-dozen CDC staffers who suggested Navajo leaders on epidemiology, illness surveillance, and an infection management steps because the variety of instances there started to rise.
“We drove about 1,300 miles to go to many of the healthcare services over a two-week interval,” Krishnasamy mentioned. “We walked by way of their an infection management practices and gave them steering on any points they had been having, and we made certain they had been in control with the most recent steering printed by CDC.”
And in mid-February, he was among the many CDC staffers dispatched to Lackland Air Power Base in San Antonio, Texas. Lackland was one in every of a number of navy bases the place State Division repatriation flights introduced Individuals returning house from Hubei Province after journey restrictions had been imposed by the federal government of China within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and people vacationers had been quarantined on the bottom for 2 weeks.
Krishnasamy monitored the vacationers for signs and helped develop procedures to isolate, transport, and admit any who confirmed signs of the illness to a hospital. The folks in quarantine included youngsters, who on not less than one event acquired donated toys to assist them by way of the quarantine days and day by day medical checks.
“There have been between 90 and 100 individuals who had been quarantined on a navy base in San Antonio with US marshals outdoors implementing the quarantine,” Krishnasamy mentioned. However regardless of the weird circumstances, “Everyone was nice to work with. They understood the seriousness of the state of affairs and had been prepared to work with us.”
The son of Indian immigrants, Krishnasamy was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He went to school at Kent State College and earned his medical diploma from Northeast Ohio Medical College.
“I used to be enthusiastic about plenty of topics. Drugs was a strategy to tie all of it collectively and do work that was all about letting folks be their finest selves,” he says. However he says his curiosity in public well being started earlier than faculty, throughout childhood visits to his father’s house in rural southern India.
“It was a life that was very completely different,” he says. “I feel that was my preliminary inkling that there are inhabitants well being wants in all places.”
In 2016, Krishnasamy joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service, the “illness detectives,” the place he investigated outbreaks of foodborne sickness. Within the months earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, he was a part of CDC’s response to the outbreak of extreme lung accidents linked to the usage of e-cigarettes.
“With COVID-19, we try to find out tips on how to reply with out having the quantity of knowledge we’ve obtainable to us for different ailments,” he says. “That’s a bit completely different than my earlier outbreak experiences.”