Performance Anxieties

With the CDC's actions against the Zika outbreak nearing a year, an early online edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) provided some comments from the CDC as to key accomplishments and contributions, including but not limited to:

  • monitoring the blood supply;
  • applying mosquito-control strategies;
  • developing best practices;
  • performing research establishing links between Zika and birth defects.

"CDC experts in every field will continue to protect women and their families from the devastating complications of this threat,” says director Tom Freiden.

While the actions to control Zika have been positive, concerns remain as to the overall readiness of the U.S. in the event of a health emergency. The Trust for America's Health, in its annual report "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism," has expressed concerns as to the state of funding. In particular, the report notes that, in many cases, funding for health issues like hepatitis C or measles outbreaks has been reduced or diverted, and that significant cuts have been made to the main source for state and local preparedness for health emergencies and hospital preparedness.

Notes Trust vice president of public affairs Laura Segal, "It is not a question of 'if' but 'when' the next emergency will arise. 'The Ready or Not?' report shows that the country has been undercutting funding for preparedness for health emergencies, which leaves us off guard when a new threat emerges."