The Atlantic

Is the CDC Losing Control?

The country’s flagship public-health agency is facing internal scandal and funding issues that will test its ability to respond to outbreaks on the horizon.
Source: David Tulis / AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was created, quite literally, to drain the swamp. In the not-so-far-off past, much of the southeastern United States was a malarial mess, with disease-carrying mosquitoes multiplying in the heat and moisture of the agricultural lowlands and wetlands that dominate the region. Before America became a superpower, the major threats to life and liberty weren’t terrorism or nuclear annihilation, but the annual scourge of fever diseases. When the CDC’s predecessor, the Office of Malaria Control in War, its mission was to knock down the remaining barriers to personal freedom these illnesses imposed. Or, to drain them.

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