26 August 2013

CDC Awards Funding to Support Public Health Surveillance, Disease Detection and Outbreak Response

On Tuesday, August 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an award to states of about $75.8 million through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). This funding helps states and communities strengthen core epidemiology and laboratory capacity needed to track and respond quickly to a variety of infectious diseases.

Through the ELC mechanism, CDC provides funding to all 50 state health departments, six local health departments, and eight territories or U.S. affiliates. Funds provided through the ELC mechanism help pay for more than 1,000 full- and part-time public health employees including epidemiologists, laboratorians, and health information systems staff. The annual ELC investment provides public health officials with improved tools to respond to more outbreaks, conduct surveillance faster and prevent more illnesses and deaths from infectious diseases.

The funding provided through the ELC cooperative agreement supports surveillance, detection, and outbreak response efforts in many infectious disease areas, including zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, foodborne diseases, influenza, and healthcare-associated infections. Beth P. Bell, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, stated the significance of this funding in strengthening national infectious disease infrastructure, “With many infectious diseases first identified at the local level, this funding ensures that state health departments are able to effectively prevent, detect and respond to such public health threats.”

This investment by the CDC directly addresses a key recommendation from ISDS’s recently published Sustainable Surveillance paper by giving recognition to public health surveillance as a core public health function. As stated by Scott Becker, MS, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), even though this year’s allocation is a 4% drop from last year, the small cut in light of sequestration shows how highly we value public health surveillance in the country.

This funding is in addition to $13.7 million that went out through the ELC mechanism in January. More details on state-by-state ELC funding and on CDC’s ELC cooperative agreement are available on the ELC webpage at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dpei/epidemiology-laboratory-capacity.html

*The above information was adapted from the Press Release by CDC and from CIDRAP News.

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