CDC chief: Forced budget cuts would make it harder to fight outbreaks, protect public health

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WASHINGTON - The nation's top disease detective says impending budget cuts will make it harder to solve outbreaks, fight hospital infections and keep illnesses overseas from making their way here.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says his agency will lose more than $300 million at a time when public health already is struggling to keep up with new germs.

In Frieden's words, "Our threats aren't getting cut but our ability to respond to them is."

One example: Frieden says the cuts could constrain his agency's investigation of a worrisome tuberculosis outbreak in Los Angeles. Another example: CDC would have to cut funding for state and local health departments, impairing their ability to spot early warning signs of outbreaks.

Organizations: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Geographic location: WASHINGTON, Los Angeles

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