March 10, 1999
RYAN PROPOSES RAPID RESPONSE INFECTIOUS DISEASE TEAM
SPRINGFIELD, IL Gov. George H. Ryan today proposed the creation of a "rapid response" team at the state Department of Public Health to help communities and counties deal with future cases of infectious disease.
"New and emerging infectious diseases present a significant risk to the citizens of Illinois and a cluster of cases can tax the expertise and resources of local health departments," Ryan said. "This new team of specialists, backed by enhanced laboratory capability at Public Health, will allow the state to be better prepared to handle these threats."
Ryan said his proposal would cost an estimated $1 million and will be added to the Fiscal Year 2000 budget for the Department, which is currently under consideration by the General Assembly.
State Public Health officials developed this proposal in part because of the recent "cluster" of cases diagnosed as invasive Group A Streptococcus in the Chicago area and isolated cases of invasive "Strep A" elsewhere in the state. This winter, there have been 57 reported cases of invasive "Strep A" in Illinois. Since December, 14 people in Illinois have died because of invasive "Strep A"; 46 of those cases were in the Chicago area, with 11 deaths.
During 1998, there were 193 reported cases of invasive Strep A in Illinois and 35 deaths because of the disease. Overall, more than 2 million cases of infectious diseases occur annually in Illinois.
Ryan's plan has two components:
"Hundreds of thousands of infectious disease cases occur annually in the state and the capability of the public health network is in need of more trained personnel and upgraded capabilities to better meet the threat of diseases," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director.
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