By: Schnirring, Lisa
A new report from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates that the nation could improve its infectious disease outbreak detection and response capabilities, giving it an overall preparedness score of 7.2 out of 10. “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases” examines 10 key disease outbreak indicators—including whether they met vaccination targets—for each state. Thirty-four states scored 5 or lower on the key indicators, ranging from a low score of 2 in Georgia, Nebraska, and New Jersey to a high score of 8 in New Hampshire. Dr. Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH, points out that just 25 percent of states have vaccinated 50 percent or more of the population against the flu, and the federal goal for preschooler pertussis vaccination has been achieved only by Connecticut and Delaware. Increasing vaccination levels is one of the recommendations made in the report to address gaps in disease prevention and control.