Congressional agreement on a funding bill that reopened government yesterday got the gears turning again with several key public health tasks, such as flu surveillance, science communication, and lab testing.
Within hours of President Obama's signing of the legislation, some of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Twitter accounts crackled to life again, including one used by its director, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, who wrote, "So relieved to have the best and brightest back to work protecting and promoting health. Hope for no relapse…"
Government employees who had been furloughed were asked to return yesterday. At the CDC all but 4,000 of about 13,000 employees were furloughed. A few were called back to manage a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to three Foster Farms processing facilities in California.
Barbara Reynolds, PhD, who directs the CDC's division of public affairs, was the point person who fielded media queries while many of her colleagues were furloughed. She told CIDRAP News yesterday that the CDC is operating as it did before the shutdown, and that its scientists and health officials can resume needed travel and attend meetings.
Throughout the day yesterday, the CDC posted several notices on its Web site signaling that its activities were returning to normal. It posted a notice that its weekly FluView surveillance reports would return today, but in an abbreviated form, after a 2-week absence.
The lack of reports created an...