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Just read this in the Washington Post.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides some of the most vital Public Health services in our Nation.  I was shocked to learn today that:

The disease centers [CDC] confirmed that the 2011 budget does eliminate financing for the "vector-borne" disease branch, which tracks dengue, West Nile virus, plague, encephalitis and other illnesses carried by insects.

Dr. Ali S. Khan, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said that the disease centers had to make budget cuts, and that the vector-borne disease branch was one. But he said other money could be used to pay for some of the work it used to do.

More than a dozen medical organizations have signed a letter to Congress, asking that the money be reinstated.

I mean, you're kidding me, right?  The unit responsible for tracking insect/parasite-bourne infectious diseases in the US is being closed for budget cuts?  

With the recent appearance in the US of Dengue fever, Malaria, Chagas, and Lyme Disease, we're now going to close the only Public Health arm that can track these menaces?

This is a stunning miscarriage of Public Health.  These are not trivial diseases, and in some cases can be fatal.  The CDC vector-borne disease unit provides a vital domestic (and international) service for the citizens of this country.  How can we cut the funding for this while at the same time spend trillions of dollars for banking bailouts is mind boggling.

By not tracking these illnesses, the health of the entire US population is put at risk.  Doesn't matter if you live in a cold climate - these diseases are easily transmitted via Blood transfusions, and could basically destroy the safety of our Blood supply.  (I know first hand from working for Red Cross Blood Services.)  

I make a call to action to all readers to contact their Congressional representatives and tell them in no uncertain terms that their budget priorities are near-insane, and that the risk to Public health is grave.  

Originally posted to railsplitter on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 04:09 AM PDT.

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