Government shutdown would put CDC flu program on hold

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of those government agencies that would be affected by the government shutdown. If that happens the CDC would not be able to maintain its influenza program during one of the most severe influenza seasons in years.

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While local health departments would be able to continue collecting flu samples, once those samples arrived at the CDC, they would just sit there, untested. If a different new strain would begin to develop, there would be no way for the CDC to detect it.

The CDC which has always provided guidance for local health departments would no longer be able to give updates on disease trends or if there are disease clusters across the country.

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That information is helpful because if there is an unusual outbreak, it would help delivery more of the vaccine. Health Departments we talked to in the Bay Area said they had plenty of the vaccine available.

"There would definitely be concerns if the CDC would be closed more than a very short part of the time," said hospital epidemiologist for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Dr. Laura Winston.

The last time the CDC was affected by a government shutdown was in 2013 and it saw the majority of it flu staff furloughed.

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