Outbreaks: No State Boasts a Perfect Score in Disease Prevention

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released a report to examine the United State’s policies involving the response to infectious disease threats. The report, titled “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases” examines 10 indicators in each state that offer a “composite snapshot” to show how well prepared states are to respond to infectious diseases. According to the report, no state has a perfect score of 10 when it comes to infectious disease prevention.

According to the report, states hold the greatest responsibility when it comes to prevention and coordination. “While federal, state and local health departments and healthcare providers all have roles to play, states have the primary legal jurisdiction and responsibility for the health of their citizens. These indicators help illustrate the types of fundamentals that are important to have in place not just to prevent the spread of disease in the first place but also to detect, diagnose and respond to outbreaks.”

Fighting outbreaks requires much more than government intervention; states must also cooperate with the private sector. This requires a network of communication between state officials and the healthcare sector, as well as medical supply companies, employers, schools, and families. “Outbreak” discusses these issues and more on a state-by-state basis, rating each state with an objective look at state policies.

The report also includes recommendations for states to “assure the public health system meets today’s needs and works across boundaries to accomplish its goals.”

The highest priorities, according to TFAH, are vaccine-preventable diseases; funding for public health; emerging infectious diseases; emergency outbreaks such as bioterrorism; foodborne and waterborne illnesses; and HIV/AIDS screening and TB prevention.

No states received a perfect 10 score; the highest scoring state is New Hampshire, with a total of 8 indicators met. The lowest scoring states are Georgia, Nebraska, and New Jersey, with 2 points each.

Read the full report here and visit the TFAH page on the “Outbreaks” report for state specific information and more.

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4992