U.S. Agencies Lack Coordination in Addressing Animal-Borne Illnesses, Study Finds
The United States' public health system lacks coordination among agencies and has not effectively addressed recent outbreaks of animal-borne illnesses, according to a report released yesterday by the Trust for America's Health, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Researchers examined U.S. public health officials' response to five diseases that originated in animals: monkeypox, West Nile virus, mad cow disease, Lyme disease and chronic wasting disease (Suriano, Orlando Sentinel, 8/6). The report found that "as many as seven cabinet-level agencies, hundreds of state and local public health and environmental organizations and thousands of health workers" are involved in responding to outbreaks, according to a Trust release (Trust for America's Health release, 8/5). The report cites instances in which a lack of coordination among agencies delayed the reporting of monkeypox, Lyme disease and West Nile virus cases, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. In addition, researchers found that chronic wasting disease research is not adequately financed and that regulatory overlap between the FDA and USDA could hinder efforts to stop mad cow disease. "Despite the surge in animal-borne disease threatening Americans, the country lacks a concerted national program to prevent and control these illnesses, which can impact humans, animals and food, in the U.S. and abroad," the report concludes (Wahlberg, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/6). The report recommends the creation of a national surveillance system to track emerging infections and additional funding for public health agencies. In addition, it recommends that Congress identify one agency to manage responses to animal-borne diseases (Orlando Sentinel, 8/6). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.