“The broader question is, what are the outbreaks that we don’t know about? At any one time, we’re investigating 25 or 30 clusters of illness. Initially we had sent home the vast majority of the staff working on foodborne disease. When it became clear that [the shutdown] was going to go on more than a week, we called a bunch of them back. But our monitoring systems throughout the agency are working at really skeletal levels and that means we have more blind spots, we may be slower to respond, and we may be less effective at prevention. For instance, here’s what we’re responding to right now: An outbreak of Legionella in a residential facility in Alabama. An outbreak of tuberculosis in another state. An investigation of a fatal case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever on an American Indian Reservation in Arizona where we’ve been working for two years to control that disease. A serious healthcare-associated infection outbreak in Baltimore. A cluster of infants who have been dying, or getting severely ill, in another part of the country. A cluster of meningitis in a university in the northeast that is going to require a very complicated response. An outbreak of hepatitis B in healthcare…”
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