Govt health and safety efforts slowed or halted

October 8, 2013 by Mary Clare Jalonick

The government shutdown has slowed or halted federal efforts to protect Americans' health and safety, from probes into the cause of transportation and workplace accidents to tracking the flu. The latest example: investigating an outbreak of salmonella in chicken that has sickened people in 18 states.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recalled some furloughed staff to deal with the outbreak, which has sickened more than 270 people. Before Tuesday, the CDC had only a handful of scientists working on detection, hampering its ability to track potentially deadly illnesses.

The states have had to pick up much of the slack during the shutdown. In the case of food safety, state labs are investigating foodborne illnesses and communicating with each other to determine whether outbreaks have spread.

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