public health preparedness

Tag archives for public health preparedness

Last year’s emergency Zika funding is about to run out and there’s no new money in the pipeline. It’s emblematic of the kind of short-term, reactive policymaking that public health officials have been warning us about for years. Now, as we head into summer, public health again faces a dangerous, highly complex threat along with an enormous funding gap.

When you ask public health advocates about President Trump’s recent budget proposal, you typically get a bewildered pause. Public health people don’t like to exaggerate — they follow the science, they stay calm, they face off against dangerous threats on a regular basis. Exaggerating doesn’t help contain diseases, it only makes it harder. So it’s concerning when you hear words like this about Trump’s budget: “devastating,” “not serious,” “ludicrous,” “unfathomable.”

A Zika attack rate of just 1 percent across the six states most at risk for the mosquito-borne disease could result in $1.2 billion in medical costs and lost productivity, a new study finds. That’s more than the $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding that Congress approved last year after months of delay and which is expected to run out this summer.

Public health is in trouble.

In 2005, the World Health Assembly adopted a revised version of its International Health Regulations, a legally binding treaty among 196 nations to boost global health security and strengthen the world’s capacity to confront serious disease threats such as Ebola and SARS. A decade later, just one-third of countries have the ability to respond to a public health emergency. That’s why Rebecca Katz thinks it’s time to get creative.

With near constant news on the threat of Zika virus and a quickly growing evidence base detailing the virus’ devastating impact on fetal brain development, you’d think Congress could get its act together to make sure our public health system is fully prepared and equipped to confront the mosquito-borne disease. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

Months before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Texas, the state’s public health laboratory had begun preparing for the disease to reach U.S. shores. And while the virus itself is an uncommon threat in this country, the response of the nation’s public health laboratory system wasn’t uncommon at all — in fact, protecting people’s health from such grave threats is exactly what public health laboratorians are trained to do.