-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- While significant
progress has been made in the past 10 years, many states still fall
short in their preparedness for public health emergencies such as
disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorist attacks,
according to a new report.
It found that 35 states and Washington, D.C. scored 6 or lower
on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. Kansas and
Montana scored lowest -- 3 of 10 -- while Maryland, Mississippi,
North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin scored highest, with 8 of
The scores of other states were:
The 10th annual report was released Wednesday by the Trust for
America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Among the key findings:
"In the past decade, there have been a series of significant health emergencies, including extreme weather events, a flu pandemic and foodborne outbreaks," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH, said in a news release from the group.
"But, for some reason, as a country, we haven't learned that we need to bolster and maintain a consistent level of health emergency preparedness. Investments made after Sept. 11, the anthrax attacks and Hurricane Katrina led to dramatic improvements, but now budget cuts and complacency are the biggest threats we face," Levi said.
"Public health preparedness has improved leaps and bounds from where we were 10 years ago," Paul Kuehnert, director of the public health team at the RWJF, said in the news release. "But severe budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels threaten to undermine that progress. We must establish a baseline of 'better safe than sorry' preparedness that should not be crossed."
The report offers a number of recommendations to fill many of
the major gaps in preparedness for public health emergencies:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines
what you can do to
for an emergency.
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