CDC Warns of Program Cuts

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned Friday that funding cuts could force the agency, and its state and local counterparts, to reduce programs designed to prepare the nation to respond to terrorist WMD attacks (see GSN, Dec. 10, 2008).

The warning was issued in the first report from the CDC's Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, which reviewed progress made in fiscal 2007.

"Building a strong platform for public health preparedness and response is not an easy endeavor," TPER Director Richard Besser said in a press release. “Much work remains to be done to improve our internal and external response capabilities, and to reduce our vulnerabilities to all types of public health threats.”

The new report cited progress in establishing national drug and vaccine stockpiles, multiplying the number of laboratories capable of testing for potential bioterrorism materials, improving disease surveillance capabilities and creating information sharing systems.

This progress, however, is threatened by prospects of reduced funding, the report says.

The federal public health agency might "have to make difficult decisions about what the highest priority activities are and what must be postponed," the report says. "Public health departments at state and local levels may have to make similar choices" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release, Jan. 16

January 21, 2009
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned Friday that funding cuts could force the agency, and its state and local counterparts, to reduce programs designed to prepare the nation to respond to terrorist WMD attacks (see GSN, Dec. 10, 2008).