Contagion: A look at “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014”

smallpox vaccine bottleTrust for America’s Health partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to release “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014” this month. The report uses the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) to identify shortcomings in the nation’s ability to manage severe infectious disease threats.

The study took ten indicators ranging from “Increased or maintained level of funding for public health services from FY2012-13 to FY2013-14” to “State requires reporting of all CD4 and HIV viral load data to their state HIV surveillance program.” Half of the states plus Washington, D.C., scored a 5 or lower on the 10 indicators. Five states tied for the top score at 8 indicators out of 10. These states are Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Arkansas scored the lowest of all the states, achieving only 2 of 10 indicators. At the Healthy Americans webpage, you can utilize the interactive map to see how each state scored. 

The major gaps identified in the report include: Preparedness, Vaccination, Healthcare-Associated Infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Food Safety. As Paul Kuehnert, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation director stated, “Infectious disease control requires having systems in place, continuous training and practice and sustained, sufficient funding.” Promoting and protecting health, and readiness to respond are essential components to a healthier America.

Outbreaks” includes multiple infographics, maps, datasets, and charts to illustrate the text. 

Article formerly posted at