The Time: January 1996
The Place: Denver, Colorado
Over 50 kids went to their doctor because they had bloody diarrhea, painful cramps, and a high fever.
The doctors figured out that all these people had Salmonella, a disease caused by a kind of bacteria. (Even though this disease has the word "salmon" in it, it has nothing to do with fish. Salmonella gets its name from the guy who discovered it -- Daniel Elmer Salmon.)
Even though salmon didn't cause the illness, the folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guessed that something fishy was going on. Why did all these people get sick at the same time?
Centers for Disease Control
Epidemiologists are disease detectives. They track down the causes behind diseases and find ways to control them. Every week, Cindy studies computer reports to find out if there's an outbreak of any disease in the United States.
Gather information about the outbreak.
Interview people to figure out the exact "crime scene."
Collect evidence at the "crime scene."
Analyze the evidence at the lab.
Estimate the total number of people infected.
Get the word out. Stop the spread.