After First Ebola Case, Red Flags Persist About U.S. Preparedness for a Pandemic

The confirmation Tuesday of the first Ebola case on U.S. soil emerges against a backdrop of increasing concern in America’s medical community that preparedness for a pandemic has stagnated or slipped in recent years because of tough economic times and increasing malaise since the 2001 anthrax threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, America’s premier disease fighter, offered the air of confidence in declaring that the first Ebola patient in Dallas was carefully contained. But earlier this year, it sounded less optimistic about the U.S. health system’s ability to fight a pandemic should a major disease outbreak occur.

“CDC continues to work with reduced financial resources, which similarly affects state, local, and insular public health departments. … These losses make it difficult for state and local health departments to continue to expand their preparedness capabilities, instead forcing them to focus on maintaining their current capabilities,” the CDC warned.