CDC fortifies infectious disease readiness

By Frank Irving
12:27 PM
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has invested in the national infectious disease infrastructure with an award to states of nearly $76 million, the agency announced on Aug. 20. The funding is intended to help states and communities strengthen core epidemiology and laboratory capacity needed to track and respond quickly to a variety of infectious diseases.

The award flows through CDC's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). It provides funding to all 50 state health departments, six local health departments (Los Angeles County, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Houston and the District of Columbia), and eight territories or U.S. affiliates. The funds help pay for more than 1,000 full- and part-time positions in state, territorial, local and tribal health departments. Those positions include epidemiologists, laboratorians, and health information systems staff.

CDC said its annual ELC investment provides public health officials with improved tools to respond to more outbreaks, conduct surveillance faster, and prevent more illnesses and deaths from infectious diseases. The newly announced funding complements $13.7 million that went out through the ELC mechanism in January, according to CDC.

Beth P. Bell, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, explained in a prepared statement: “With many infectious diseases first identified at the local level, this funding ensures that state health departments are able to effectively prevent, detect and respond to such public health threats.”

The funding provided through the ELC cooperative agreement supports surveillance, detection, and outbreak response efforts in many infectious disease areas, including zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, foodborne diseases, influenza, and healthcare-associated infections. In addition, the ELC provides health departments with resources to rapidly identify and respond to outbreaks of new and emerging infectious disease threats, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and monkeypox.

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