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CDC Director Resigns

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stepped down, CNBC reports.

Brenda Fitzgerald, the former public health commissioner of Georgia and an obstetrician-gynecologist, was named to lead the agency in July. Her resignation has come following revelations that she purchased stock in tobacco companies soon after assuming the leadership role at CDC — an agency tasked with encouraging Americans to quit smoking.

Politico noted earlier this week that this stock purchase came while previous tobacco company buys were under scrutiny for possible conflicts of interest, and it added that Fitzgerald also owned stock in Merck, Bayer, and Humana. It also reported that Fitzgerald sold her tobacco company stock in October and all of her stock holdings over $1,000 by late November.

In a statement, Alex Azar, who was confirmed as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services last week, says Fitzgerald has stepped down due to "complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the CDC director."

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