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Petereit Honored With Disease Intervention Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737 


Petereit Honored With Disease Intervention Award


PIERRE, S.D. – Linda Petereit, Sioux Falls, has been named the 2013 Distinguished Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) by the South Dakota Department of Health. The award was given in conjunction with National Disease Intervention Specialist Recognition Day, an annual observance recognizing the important role of disease intervention specialists in preventing and controlling public health threats.  


“Disease intervention specialists do the legwork of interviewing people infected with communicable diseases, identifying contacts and informing them of their exposure so they can be tested and treated,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “This critical work breaks the chain of disease transmission and protects the public.”


Petereit was selected for her dedication, professionalism, and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. A registered nurse for 36 years, she brings a unique set of skills to the department’s multi-disciplinary disease intervention team. She has been with the department for 18 years.   


“Linda cares about every person she works with and never forgets there is someone else down the line that could get infected if the disease isn’t stopped,” said Kightlinger. 


She is one of 19 department disease intervention specialists working out of field offices in Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Dupree. Each one completes an extensive training course with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are the backbone of the department’s sexually transmitted disease and HIV prevention efforts and also respond to other public health crises and outbreaks such as H1N1 influenza, E. coli, tuberculosis, hepatitis, pertussis and others. 


“Ddisease intervention specialists are dedicated to serving the health of their communities,” said Kightlinger. “They work in challenging conditions, work weekends and nights and cover many miles to assure all patients who are infected or are exposed to an infection are notified and treated.” 


DIS Recognition Day is sponsored by the National Coalition of Sexually Transmitted Disease Directors.


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