The Government Shutdown Could Slow The CDC's Flu-Tracking Efforts

The CDC will retain some of its staff, but limited resources may slow its public health analysis and reports.
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 24, 2018

Flu season doesn't seem to be slowing down, and the government shutdown could make the illness more difficult to track.

In its contingency plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would furlough half its staff. Some agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and Indian Health Services, will get to retain more than half of their employees. Other agencies aren't as lucky.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which responds to disease outbreaks, will only retain 37 percent of its staff. That means it'll still be able to collect and report data about the flu from local authorities — but likely at a slower pace.

The agency told CNBC: "Our staff resources are limited, which means it will take longer to review, analyze and report out information needed for public health action."    

In its most recent update, the CDC reported 30 flu-related pediatric deaths. Between Oct. 1 and Jan. 13, there have been 8,990 hospitalizations.