The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced awards of nearly $110 million to help states and communities strengthen their capacity to track and respond to infectious diseases. The awards represent an increase of about $13 million over fiscal year 2014 funding, with increases going to vaccine-preventable-disease surveillance, foodborne-disease prevention and advanced molecular detection, among other projects.
The funding is allocated through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC), with a goal of helping states fight infectious disease outbreaks more quickly and develop better interventions to protect the public’s health. Of the nearly $110 million, $51 million is provided through the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. That funding will support infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response, public health laboratories, health information systems, efforts to combat zoonotic, vector-borne and foodborne diseases, vaccine-preventable infections, influenza, and healthcare-associated infections.
Officials from the CDC say that 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.
CDC 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 ELC 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.