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Published On: Wed, Jan 15th, 2014

CDC Director Frieden addresses chikungunya, budget cuts in Op-Ed

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH addressed the chikungunya situation in the Western Hemisphere in an article Monday posted in the Huffington Post titled, “Another Threat To America’s Health Security”.

Director Frieden notes that the federal health agency has been tracking the difficult to pronounce mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya for seven years prior to it landing in the Caribbean in December.

Frieden notes, “And now it’s close to our own borders and likely to spread within the Caribbean in the coming months and years.”

Even more concerning, the mosquitoes that spread the virus (the same mosquitoes that spread dengue virus) are found in many parts of the United States. Maps of the distribution of these mosquitoes are on the CDC website.

Microbes know no boundaries, and neither do mosquitoes. Planes and ships can easily bring infected mosquitoes to the mainland. In addition, travelers who visit the Caribbean and become infected there can cause local transmission of the virus when they return to the United States if bitten by mosquitoes when they are still sick.

This makes chikungunya another in a long line of threats to American health security.

This brings the director to the issue of money.

CDC is America’s health protection agency. Along with our partners, our public health experts put their boots on the ground 24/7 to find, stop, and prevent new disease threats such as chikungunya — both in our own country and across the globe.

PAHO Chikungunya guidelines published in 2011

Yet in the past four years, CDC’s budget authority has been cut by nearly $1 billion, including nearly $600 million in the past fiscal year alone. These cuts hurt our ability to protect Americans against health threats, both old and new, including those from emerging and resistant microbes, natural disasters, and bioterrorism.

Despite budgetary challenges, our goal is to protect and improve the health of individuals, families, and communities, in our own country as well as across the globe. It’s a passion that makes us feel fortunate to do the work we do, and committed to controlling threats to America’s health security.

More on Chikungunya at The Global Dispatch

Aedes aegypti  Image/CDC

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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