Federal and state budget cuts are putting at risk programs to detect and respond to bioterrorism, disease outbreaks and other disasters, according to a new report.
Forty states cut their public health funding during the past year, with 29 cutting for the second year in a row and 15 for the third year. Federal funds for state and local preparedness, adjusted for inflation, have dropped 38 percent since fiscal 2005, according to the 9th annual report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” from the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
At peril are such public health information networks as the Health Alert Network that 48 state laboratories use to send messages to 4,000 clinical laboratories, and the Public Health Laboratory Response Network to detect and respond to biological threats, according to the report. Other initiatives at risk include the Hospital Preparedness Program, state and local preparedness grants, and the Career Epidemiology Field Officer Program, among others.
The full report is available here.
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