When David Landau ran for Delaware County Council in 2007, one of his issues was the lack of a county health department (see his interview here). Democratic candidates this year have also mentioned it as a concern. This came to mind when cnn.com ran an AP article, "Flu scare reveals strapped local health agencies," by Rita Beamish and Frank Bass this morning. Here are a few excerpts:
The swine flu outbreak fell short of a full-blown international crisis, but revealed the precarious state of local health departments, the community bulwarks against disease and health emergencies in the United States.
Decreases in the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program were most significant in Iowa, Mississippi, Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. After a pair of killer hurricanes hit Louisiana in 2005, Washington sent nearly $15 million in 2006 health emergency help. This year, it's down to $9.8 million.
Existing county health departments might be stretched thin but counties without a health department at all might be in more trouble. But that's just my opinion.