Most U.S. States Are Underprepared for Disease Outbreaks

Over Half of U.S. States Ill Prepared for Disease Outbreaks
Over Half of U.S. States Ill Prepared for Disease Outbreaks

(HealthDay News) — More than half of U.S. states are poorly prepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, according to a new report released December 17 by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The categories included health care-association infections, childhood vaccinations, flu vaccinations, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS, food safety, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and the ability to deal with emerging infectious disease threats. Due to their scores, the following states were considered not adequately prepared for infectious outbreaks: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington scored 5 of 10. Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming scored 5 of 10; Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah scored 3 of 10; and Oklahoma finished last at 2 out of 10.

Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York, and Virginia tied for the top score, achieving 8 of 10 indicators of preparedness. They were followed by: Alaska, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nebraska at 7 of 10; and Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin at 6 out of 10.

"America's investments in infectious disease prevention ebb and flow, leaving our nation challenged to sufficiently address persistent problems," Paul Kuehnert, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation director, said in a TFAH news release. "We need to reboot our approach so we support the health of every community by being ready when new infectious threats emerge."

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