Physicians call for increased funding for federal infectious disease programs

As President Bush released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2006, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has urged Congress and the Administration not to allow federal infectious disease programs that are vital to the nation's health to stagnate due to lack of funding.

"Although we recognize that fiscal constraint is necessary during a time of war and significant federal budget deficit, we urge the Administration and Congress to acknowledge the need for a sufficient investment to protect Americans against infectious diseases," said IDSA President Walter E. Stamm, MD.

Dr. Stamm noted that policymakers have already recognized that preventing, controlling, and treating infectious diseases is an integral component of homeland security. Topping the health care agenda of the Senate leadership is a broad "biopreparedness" bill (S. 3) that is aimed at protecting the nation against bioterrorism, antimicrobial resistance, pandemic influenza, and other emerging infectious threats. "We urge Congress and the Administration to show the same commitment and leadership as they move forward with the budget and appropriations process," he said.

The Society, which represents the nation's infectious disease physicians and scientists, is encouraged by increases in funding for the Food and Drug Administration, and for bioterrorism and pandemic influenza preparedness. However, IDSA is disappointed by steep cuts in funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Also, the small increase granted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will not keep pace with inflation. IDSA is urging Congress to increase funding for federal programs on biodefense preparedness, pandemic influenza, antimicrobial resistance, emerging infections, HIV/AIDS, and childhood and adult immunization.

Naturally occurring infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide and a

Contact: Steve Baragona
Infectious Diseases Society of America

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