At a time when there is a great need for staff and resources, many local health departments (LHDs) are emerging from layoffs and cutbacks. But for some of them, help is on the horizon.
The H1N1outbreak has given some LHDs well-needed boosts in funding. In California, a state particularly hard-hit by the economic downturn, LHD employees that were laid off just a few months ago are now being hired back. This is due to the $150 million in federal funding counties in California are to receive in order to meet the demands of an H1N1 outbreak.
On a more general note, in the past six years, the budget for influenza preparation has been on the rise.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said preparations have not been at a standstill.
"We have gone from 2003, when our budget for influenza was $50 million. It is now $260 million at a time when the NIH (National Institutes of Health) budget was flat," he said.