The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded more than $200 million through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement to help states, cities, counties, and territories prevent, detect, respond to, and control the growing threats posed by emerging and re-emerging infectious disease, as well as antibiotic resistance. State programs are the foundation of the U.S. public health system and are integral to the nation’s efforts to combat infectious disease threats. CDC and states work together to improve local surveillance, laboratory diagnostic capabilities, and outbreak response.
In addition, CDC is enhancing the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (AR Lab Network) to sound the alarm when known and emerging antibiotic resistance threats are detected. Data generated by the AR Lab Network can help improve infection control in healthcare facilities and enable more rapid and effective responses to outbreaks. In particular, the 2017 funding enhances current AR Lab Network activities by:
- Increasing testing nationwide for the fungal threat Candida, including emerging drug-resistant Candida auris fungi. The AR Lab Network Regional Labs are ramping up techniques nationwide to more rapidly identify and understand this new threat to stop further spread. C. auris can cause invasive and often deadly infections that are resistant to multiple antifungal drugs. Without action, it may spread further in the U.S.
- Strengthening national tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and infrastructure by adding a new national laboratory. The National TB Molecular Surveillance Center is equipped to perform DNA sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis gathered from newly diagnosed patients in the United States. This technology – whole genome sequencing, or WGS – can help target public health interventions and identify new antibiotic-resistant TB strains as they emerge. TB is the world’s leading infectious disease killer, with an estimated 1.8 million deaths each year. Drug-resistant TB makes it even more difficult to treat and control TB in the United States.
- Enhancing detection of drug-resistant gonorrhea threats using WGS. Enhanced gonorrhea surveillance will identify when and how drug-resistant strains emerge and spread. This information could lead to more rapid outbreak response, and help stop antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea from spreading further into the community. It will also help clinicians make more accurate treatment decisions for their patients. About 820,000 new gonorrhea infections occur each year in the U.S. More than a quarter of reported cases are resistant to at least one antibiotic.
Read CDC’s full press release about this funding to learn more.