At least 170,000 individuals living in the U.S. die annually from new and re-emerging infectious diseases, a number that could drastically increase in the event of a severe outbreak of the flu or other type of illness, according to a new report released by the Trust for Americas Health. The rising threat comes at a time when the countrys ability to defend against such emerging diseases are insufficient, according to the report.
Kathleen Gensheimer, state epidemiologist in Maines Department of Health and Human Services, said that the U.S. is no longer protected from global health threats, in part due to an increase in travel here and abroad. During a conference call with reporters, she pointed to the SARS epidemic as one example. What goes on around the world is going to affect us at the state and local level, she said.
Re-emerging diseases previously thought to be nearly eliminated have also made a return, including cases of measles, mumps and tuberculosis, the report found. In Maine, for instance, about 100 cases of mumps have been detected, Gensheimer said. The study, Germs Go Global: Why Emerging Infectious Diseases Are a Threat to America, calls for an increase in federal funding, as well as coordinated efforts internationally to help avert potential health threats. -- by Matthew DoBias
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.