The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced plans Monday to spend $110 million, $13 million more than 2014, to help states track and respond to infectious diseases.
This year’s funding, which is allocated through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC), includes $17.4 million to prevent and track foodborne illnesses, $4 million more than what was spent in 2014.
The funds will be used to support the CDC’s PulseNet surveillance system, which connects foodborne illness cases to DNA “fingerprinting” of bacteria, and help the Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence establish a new Northeast Regional center to respond to outbreaks.
About $9.2 million will help state, local and territorial health department build and maintain disease detection, surveillance and prevention programs to reduce the number people infected by the West Nile virus and other mosquito- and tick-borne viruses, and another $1.5 million will go to help states fight Lyme disease.
The CDC estimates that Lyme disease affects about 300,000 people per year.
About $6 million will be used to establish local, state and territorial health coordinators that will track vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis, and $2 million will go to help states build their capacity for advanced molecular detection, an emerging field that combines next-generation genomic sequencing with bioinformatics to more quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks.
The CDC funds all 50 state health departments, six local health departments and eight territories or U.S. affiliates, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, through the ELC mechanism.
The funding will pay the salaries of nearly 1,500 epidemiologists, lab technicians and health information systems staff in the state, territorial, local and tribal health departments.