Zika Virus Will Become Endemic In U.S.; CDC Needs More Flexibility To Respond To Outbreaks, Agency Director Says

Miami Herald: Zika virus will ‘become endemic,’ CDC leader says
“The nation’s highest ranking infectious disease expert delivered some sobering news on Zika to a Miami audience on Tuesday, telling them that the mosquito-borne virus is more widespread than Florida health officials have reported and that the rapid spread of pathogens such as Zika represents ‘the new normal’ in an age of global travel and trade, booming cities, and climate change. ‘Here’s the plain truth: that Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti [mosquito species] are really not controllable with current technologies. So we will see this become endemic,’ Tom Frieden, a physician and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a group of about 100 people gathered at the InterContinental Miami hotel for The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference…” (Chang, 10/25).

USA TODAY: Zika virus ‘not controllable’: CDC director’s grim warning
“…Frieden said the federal government is hamstrung when responding to public health emergencies like Zika … The CDC receives a $14 billion annual budget, but Congress only allows the agency to use $2.5 million to respond to emergencies, leading to the drastic cuts in several programs, Frieden said. By comparison, Frieden had nearly $40 million in emergency funds as commissioner of the New York City Health Department, he said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, has broad discretion over its $13 billion annual budget. The CDC, however, doesn’t have such flexibility. The agency must seek congressional approval anytime it responds to a public health emergency…” (Gomez, 10/25).