New York City (NYC) has always been and will remain particularly susceptible to new or re-emerging infectious disease threats given its highly dense urban environment, extremely diverse population, the high volume of international travel and commerce both into and out of the city, the ongoing risk of terrorism and its large, unfiltered surface water supply. For over 25 years, NYC has been at the forefront of a number of newly recognized disease outbreaks, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in the early 1990s, the cyclosporiasis outbreak associated with imported raspberries in 1996, the introduction of West Nile virus into the Western hemisphere in 1999, the emergence of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when NYC was one of the earliest US cities affected within days of the recognition of the novel virus in Mexico, to more recent outbreaks of Ebola viral disease, Zika virus and a novel influenza A H7N2 outbreak among cats in a NYC animal shelter. Given these risks, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recognizes the primary importance of maintaining a well trained workforce, with sufficient depth and expertise on a wide range of communicable disease issues.
The DOHMH is requesting to renewal funding for its Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases Program (ELC) to support the ongoing critical infectious disease epidemiologic, laboratory, environmental health, and informatics capacity required to assure that NYC has the resources to rapidly detect, respond, control and prevent future infectious disease threats. The NYC DOHMH has been a recipient of ELC funding since 1996, and continues to value the ability to use these funds to strengthen and sustain its epidemiologic, laboratory and public health informatics workforce capacity and provide support for a wide range of communicable disease issues. NYC DOHMH is applying for renewal funding for all current project areas and is applying for new funding to enhance its integrated surveillance system, as well as expand its capacity for foodborne, waterborne, non-influenza respiratory and vectorborne diseases.