Contact: Mark Vogel, Communications Manager 703/299-0200

June 14, 2000
IDSA Applauds Legislation To Address Public Health Emergencies

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) applauds Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) for their leadership in introducing bipartisan legislation ( 122.70kb, 23 pgs) that would provide a public health infrastructure to address public health threats and emergencies, particularly major outbreaks of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance and bioterrorism.

“IDSA believes that this bill represents a very thoughtful and action-oriented approach to address these potentially devastating public health issues," said Catherine Wilfert, president of IDSA. 

IDSA strongly supports the intent of this legislation, particularly its goal to provide support and funding to state and local communities—including public health agencies, hospitals and other healthcare providers—so that they may more adequately respond to federally identified public health emergencies.  

Particularly in light of the World Health Organization’s report on antimicrobial resistance issued this week, IDSA supports the legislation’s directives to address the increasingly serious problem of antimicrobial resistance, including its call for HHS to establish an Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force made up of federal officials and public health constituents to coordinate federal programs and develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan. HHS may appoint or select a committee or other organization in existence to serve this purpose.

In the area of bioterrorism, the bill directs HHS to establish a task force to develop and implement a strategic plan to respond to the needs of public health institutions. Aspects of the plan would include addressing the readiness of the medical and public health response, the detection of pathogens, education of professionals, research priorities and the necessity and maintenance of national pharmaceutical stockpiles, among other issues. IDSA has advocated a national framework that places local health care providers at the focal point, as these providers are the first point of contact for patients during a public health emergency.

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IDSA represents more than 5,500 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. The Society’s mission is to promote and recognize excellence in patient care, education, research, public health and the prevention of infectious diseases. The Society is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

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