Outbreak effect on economy examined

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In addition to tragic loss of life, the next global infectious disease outbreak could harm the US export economy and threaten US jobs—even if the disease never reaches the country. This is the finding of two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) articles published in Health Security, which analyse the risks and show potential losses to the US export economy from an overseas outbreak.

The two articles underscore the importance of the President’s request this week for $59 million in support of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) in Fiscal Year 2019. “The President’s Budget request of $59 million for Fiscal Year 2019 for GHSA demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to global health security and provides an important bridge to the extension of the GHSA announced in October 2017 in Uganda,” said Anne Schuchat, MD, acting Director of CDC. “This new funding continues the US commitment to this multi-national effort and supplements US Government multisector support for this initiative.”

The first of the two articles, Relevance of Global Health Security to the US Export Economy, examines the potential disruption to the US export economy if an infectious disease outbreak were to take hold in CDC’s 49 global health security priority countries. Using 2015 US Department of Commerce data, the article assesses the value of US exports to the 49 countries and the number of jobs supported by those exports, finding that:

·         In 2015, the US exported over $300 billion in material goods and services to the 49 global health security priority countries.

·         These exports supported over 1.6 million American jobs across all 50 states, in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and natural resource extraction.

·         CDC’s global health security efforts stop outbreaks where they start to protect health worldwide, in turn protecting demand for US exports and the jobs they support in America.

The second article, Impact of Hypothetical Infectious Disease Outbreak on US Exports and Export-Based Jobs, examines what could happen to the US economy if an epidemic were to strike a key region, such as Southeast Asia. The article demonstrates how an epidemic spanning nine countries in Asia could cost the US over $40 billion in export revenues and put more than one million US jobs at risk.