U.S. Congress Must Ensure Continued Funding For Infectious Disease Preparedness

The Hill: Ebola outbreak reminds us that we need pandemic preparedness
Brian T. Garibaldi, director of the bio-containment unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Lisa L. Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…In recent decades, new dangers — including the emergence of lethal pathogens, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the increase in viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks such as Ebola and Lassa fever, and the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — threaten to outpace our ability to develop effective treatments. Overcoming these new and challenging obstacles — and protecting the public from a 21st century pandemic — requires preparation and resources. In response, Congress supported an effort in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to create 10 regional Ebola and special pathogen treatment centers (RESPTCs). … These preparedness initiatives provide a tremendous resource, allowing our nation to better respond to threats from highly infectious diseases. … Nationally and regionally, we are far better prepared to respond to an infectious disease threat, such as Ebola or pandemic respiratory virus, because of these dedicated federal resources. … We have an opportunity to build upon the infrastructure that has been put in place and continue strengthening our capabilities to meet these and other biologic threats. Congress can help achieve these goals by re-authorizing and appropriating investment in infectious disease preparedness” (2/4).