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The stunning cuts to America's budget to fight disease outbreaks

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Here's a disturbing fact in light of the current Ebola outbreak: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's emergency preparedness budget has fallen about half since 2006.

Scientific American posts this graph showing the steady decline since 2006.

public funding

(Scientific American)

The CDC's Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement Funding is one of the federal government's main ways of helping local areas prepare for unexpected outbreaks. Funding for it has steadily fallen in recent years after a slight increase in 2006 (perhaps a response to the SARS outbreak a few years prior).

Emergency preparedness is an easy budget to cut when there aren't any emergencies happening. But the decision has consequences: we're learning with the current outbreak that our public health systems — both in the United States, and globally — simply are not prepared to handle an Outbreak of a dangerous disease like Ebola.