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Alaska's Fight Against Infectious Diseases Stalled by Shutdown

Published On: Oct 10 2013 05:50:00 PM AKDT

The Centers for Disease Control is currently closed during the Federal Shutdown.  That could have an effect here in Alaska. (Reporter Corey Allen-Young/Photographer Rick Schleyer)


Federal furloughs have an impact on public health.  

Two-thirds of Centers for Disease Control employees are furloughed, and in Alaska, that could mean delays in getting back important test results with infectious diseases, according to state health officials.

Alaska has the highest rate of tuberculosis cases in the country.

If the state needed information on a new case right now, the turnaround would take longer than normal. 

The state's infectious diseases program director said if the shutdown continues for several months, not having CDC expertise during emergencies would be huge.

The state said they still get federal funds, but that could change if the shutdown continues too long.

Of the approximately $800,000 the state gets to prevent tuberculosis, half of that comes from federal government.