The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is increasing its funding to address infectious disease threats by about $13 million over fiscal 2014, bringing its total investment to nearly $110 million.
The funding, which is allocated through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (E.L.C.), is geared toward helping states address infectious disease outbreaks more quickly and develop better interventions to protect the public’s health.
The C.D.C. said $17.4 million of fiscal 2015 funding is earmarked for foodborne disease prevention and tracking, which is up $4 million from fiscal 2014. The funding includes increased support for the PulseNet surveillance system and outbreak response for the Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence to establish a new Northeast Regional center.
Additionally, more than $2 million will be used to help states ramp up capacity for advanced molecular detection, which the C.D.C. described as “an emerging field that combines next-generation genomic sequencing with bioinformatics to more quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks.”
“In the last year alone, states were hit with emerging diseases, like chikungunya and respiratory infections from enterovirus D-68, while also responding to outbreaks of measles, foodborne illness and other threats,” said Beth P. Bell, M.D., MPH, director of the C.D.C.’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “These awards lay the foundation for those on the front lines — state and local health departments — to act quickly to prevent illness and deaths.”
The C.D.C. funds all 50 state health departments, six local health departments (Chicago, the District of Columbia, Houston, Los Angeles County, New York City and Philadelphia), and eight territories or U.S. affiliates, including U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, through the E.L.C. mechanism. The funding helps pay the salaries of nearly 1,500 epidemiologists, lab technicians, and health information systems staff in the state, territorial, local and tribal health departments.