Secretary of Health and Human Services Regarding World Asthma Day, May 3, 2000
"Today in the United States, we are confronting an epidemic of asthma. Each year, asthma kills 5,000 Americans, and the disease is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $11 billion in health care costs and lost productivity. Low-income and minority populations experience significantly higher rates of fatalities, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, even though the prevalence of this disease is only slightly higher for these groups.
"There is much we do not yet know about asthma. We do not know what causes this debilitating disease. And we need better data to track its onset at the local, state and national levels.
"At the same time, there is much that we do know about treating this disease and lessening its impact -- and we need to use this knowledge much more widely and effectively. By following the guidelines our research has enabled us to develop, physicians today can work with asthma patients to dramatically lower hospitalizations and deaths.
"We all must embrace this challenge together. By building on the clinical research breakthroughs that we have already made, federal, state and local governments can work in collaboration with physicians and community-based organizations to manage asthma and reduce its burden on millions of Americans. HHS' Action Against Asthma strategy, released today, is a blueprint for bringing this health epidemic to the forefront of the nation's public health awareness, increasing our understanding of the disease, and providing effective treatment to all those who suffer it. As we mark World Asthma Day, we must commit ourselves to providing effective treatment for all people with asthma, and to the research effort that will ultimately prevent this devastating disease."
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