Congresswoman Eshoo Urges Health Secretary for More Details on Bird Flu Response

In the midst of an ongoing outbreak of avian flu (H5N1) among livestock and humans, Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo of Palo Alto, CA penned a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. The purpose of the letter was to request additional information on HHS’ agency-wide plan to track, contain, and combat the virus, in order to inform Congressional efforts and provide additional support if necessary.

As the virus continues to spread among mammals, including poultry and dairy cattle, in ten states, there is a growing concern about the potential for a highly infectious virus to emerge and transmit among humans. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the risk to the general public as low, Eshoo expressed her need for additional support to complement the work of the CDC and ensure a whole-of-government response to the outbreak.

In her letter, Eshoo asked HHS how they are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect workers, particularly those in close proximity to affected livestock. She also wanted to know about HHS’ plans to distribute medical countermeasures like vaccines and antiviral medications, with a focus on prioritizing high-risk populations. Additionally, she requested information on how HHS plans to use recently announced funding to increase manufacturing and testing capacity.

Eshoo gave HHS until June 21st to respond

By Sophia Gonzalez

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