CDC to scale back infectious disease prevention work in foreign countries amid funding concerns

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Due to funding concerns, the CDC is planning to scale back or discontinue its work to prevent infectious disease epidemics and other health threats in 39 foreign countries, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Here are six things to know.

1. The CDC currently works in 49 countries to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats through a global health security agenda initiative. The initiative helps the agency expand surveillance of new viruses and antibiotic resistant pathogens.

2. The global health security agenda is heavily funded by a supplemental grant given to the CDC in fiscal year 2015, which was awarded to respond to the Ebola crisis in Africa. The grant included $582 million in funds to help work with countries across the globe after the Ebola crisis in an effort to curb any emerging health threats.

3. This $582 million in funding will run out at the end of fiscal year 2019. While public health leaders hoped dollars for the infectious disease preventive work would be added to the CDC's budget before funds ran out, the agency is preparing for the fiscal reality of dwindling funds.

4. In anticipation of diminishing funds, the CDC will narrow its work to 10 "priority countries" starting in October 2019.

"We will have to scale its global health security portfolio to focus efforts based on existing resources," wrote Rebecca Martin, PhD, director of the CDC's Center for Global Health in an email to U.S. and overseas leaders in its global health center, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Faced with this anticipated fiscal reality, we have had to make some very difficult decisions."

5. The 10 countries where global health security will remain are: India, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Jordan and Guatemala. The CDC hopes funding for preventive work in the other 39 countries would transition to outside or private companies.

6. Despite scaling back the initiative, the CDC will continue efforts to improve the detection of emerging infectious diseases and will help respond to emerging threats. The agency will also continue its global vaccination programs and keep up current efforts to track and combat HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and flu.

More articles infection control: 
'Almost every patient in the hospital has the flu': How hospitals nationwide are coping with the influenza epidemic 
Early antiviral treatment can reduce flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities, study finds 
Study: Patient vaccine reminders boost immunization rates


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