Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | Emerging Threats | CDC | Ebola | infectious disease | funding

CDC Plea in '08 for Detection Centers Ignored by Obama Team

By    |   Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:01 AM

In 2008, the incoming Obama administration’s transition team ignored a memo written by the Centers for Disease Control recommending the establishment of 18 regional disease detection centers, based all over the world, to protect the United States from looming health threats like Ebola, The Washington Times reports.

“The existing centers have already proven their effectiveness and impact on detecting and responding to outbreaks including avian influenza, aflatoxin poisoning, Rift Valley fever, Ebola and Marburg virus outbreaks,” reads the memo, which the Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The memo, according to the Times, “was based on the notion that the U.S. shouldn’t wait for a disease to enter the country, but rather monitor threats in hot spots overseas to try to help local public health authorities control outbreaks before then.”

Despite the Centers' ominous warning, only five of the 18 global health centers recommended have been added to existing centers, bringing the total to 10. Not one was set up in West Africa, where Ebola is now a pandemic.

Since two Dallas nurses contracted the deadly virus while caring for a Liberian man who traveled to Texas in September (he has since died from the disease), many Democrats have taken to politicizing the crisis.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running ads blaming the GOP for voting to cut the CDC’s budget to fight Ebola. And the liberal PAC Agenda Project Action Fund is targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and several GOP Senate candidates in an attempt to link them to Ebola with ads that say “Republican Cuts Kill,” according to National Review writer Michael Tanner.

The reality, Tanner writes, is that in January, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation increasing CDC spending for 2014 by $567 million, $300 million more than what President Barack Obama requested.

“It’s not that the CDC hasn’t had money, it’s that the money has been spent on things that have little or nothing to do with the agency’s mission of protecting Americans from health threats,” Tanner writes.

Despite the agency’s mission statement to fight disease at home and abroad, the CDC has spent its money on “misplaced priorities” such as studying seat-belt use, infant car seats, and obesity.

Further, the Centers’ Prevention and Public Health Fund, included in Obamacare, was allocated mandatory funding of $3 billion over the past five years, but only about 6 percent has been spent on epidemiology, lab capacity, or programs to fight infectious diseases.

“The rest has become a giant slush fund that has been used for everything from installing streetlights and improving sidewalks to promoting breastfeeding,” Tanner writes.

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In 2008, the Obama administration's transition team ignored a Centers for Disease Control recommendation to set up 18 regional disease detection centers worldwide to protect the United States from looming health threats like Ebola.
CDC, Ebola, infectious disease, funding
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:01 AM
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