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Local Infectious Disease Response Efforts Receive $200 Million Boost from CDC

Because infectious diseases are first and foremost fought and caught by agencies on a local level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing them with a boost—in the form of $200 million—to improve surveillance, laboratory diagnostic capabilities, and outbreak response.

Awarded through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement, the funds are, “to help states, cities, counties, and territories prevent, detect, respond to, and control the growing threats posed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,” according to the CDC’s press release.

A total of $77 million of the funding is earmarked specifically for helping each and every state health department fight antibiotic-resistance threats, such as antibiotic-resistant foodborne infections and infections in healthcare facilities and communities.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, spoke about the threat of antibiotic resistance in the press release, stating, “More than 23,000 people in the United States die each year from infections caused by antibiotic resistance. CDC is committed to helping states and cities strengthen their ability to combat antibiotic resistance, and these funds will help state efforts to keep people safe.”

Enhancements are also being made the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (AR Lab Network), which will “sound the alarm when known and emerging antibiotic resistance threats are detected,” according to the press release.

Changes to the AR Lab Network include:
  • Increasing testing nationwide for the fungal threat Candida, including emerging drug-resistant Candida auris fungi.
  • Strengthening national tuberculosis surveillance and infrastructure by adding a new national laboratory.
  • Enhancing detection of drug-resistant gonorrhea threats using whole-genome sequencing.

Big advances in treatment can't make up for an inability to stop new infections, which number 5,000 per day worldwide.