A Pat on the Back for CDC

The president’s 2010 budget would give a relatively small increase —$32 million—to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for a total of $6.4 billion. This would raise funding levels for HIV/AIDS programs, emerging infectious disease research, food safety investigations and stockpiling emergency medical supplies.

Despite the 2009 A (H1N1) influenza outbreak that now involves about 1000 CDC employees, the proposed budget would hike funding for the agency’s influenza programs by a mere $303,000, to $160 million. But CDC hopes to receive much of the $1.5 billion in supplemental money the White House requested last week to address the influenza outbreak, according to Anne Schuchat, interim Deputy Director for the CDC’s Science and Public Health Program.

The biggest single increase in the CDC budget is an additional $51 million (to $744.9 million) for HIV/AIDS research and efforts to reduce the number of HIV infections.

Schuchat said the CDC was “very pleased” with the extra money, which includes $27 million to help state and local health departments identify new HIV infections. Although it is less than advocacy groups had sought, the extra funds would cover testing of an additional 600,000 people a year.

The CDC budget also proposes a $10 million increase (to $147.8 million) for emerging infectious disease research, supporting CDC’s laboratories, epidemiological investigations, and surveillance systems. Another $25 million will be added to the $596 million budget to replace emergency medical supplies, including influenza vaccines, in the Strategic National Stockpile. An extra $4 million (to $26.9 million) would be added for detection and investigation of food-borne outbreaks.

Among the planned budget savings are: $7.8 million by ending a series of anthrax vaccine safety studies; a reduction of $125.5 million in the CDC’s facilities budget; and the discontinuation (saving $1.5 million) of the agency’s mind-body institute, which studies how the mind can affect health.