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

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

FRIDAY, Dec. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of U.S. states are poorly prepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, according to a new report released Dec. 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 five of 10. Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming scored four of 10; Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah scored three of 10; and Oklahoma finished last at two out of 10.

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

"America's investments in infectious disease prevention ebb and flow, leaving our nation challenged to sufficiently address persistent problems," Paul Kuehnert, R.N., 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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