CDC postpones session on nuclear disaster response; replaced by talk on flu

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An atomic cloud rises July 25, 1946 during the "Baker Day" blast at Bikini Island in the Pacific. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)

(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has postponed a planned session on preparing for a nuclear disaster.

The session was to take place Tuesday at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta and was supposed to stream live to anyone wishing to watch.

Officials conducting the session on the public health response to a nuclear disaster were planning to include presentations on “Preparing for the Unthinkable” and “Roadmap to Radiation Preparedness.”

Instead, the CDC website for the series now lists a January 16 session entitled “Public Health Response to a Sharp Increase in Severe Seasonal Influenza.” A note at the top states that the session “will provide key and timely information for public health professionals on how to reduce the spread of seasonal flu … ” A note at the bottom reads: “The previous public health topic will be rescheduled for a future Grand Rounds.” The website was updated on Friday.

“Grand rounds” is a monthly lecture or symposium presented by the CDC for an audience of those who work in public health including doctors, clinicians, epidemiologists and other health care workers.

The initial announcement on the topic of nuclear disaster response and preparedness drew attention as it coincidentally came just after US President Donald Trump taunted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Twitter about the size and power of his nuclear button. At the time, the CDC said the session was unrelated to news events.

Kathy Harben, chief of the news media branch at CDC, said the agency, “provides for the common defense of the country against all health threats,” adding that planning for grand rounds began last April and the topic was set well in advance.

CNN contacted the CDC for comment on the session being postponed, but has not heard back.


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