Report Finds U.S. Bioterror, Bird Flu, and Health Disaster Preparedness Inadequate
U.S. Emergency Preparedness
Trust for America's Health (TFAH) today released the fourth annual "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism," which found that five years after the September 11th and anthrax tragedies, emergency health preparedness is still inadequate in America.
The "Ready or Not?" report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were evaluated. Half of states scored six or less on the scale of 10 indicators. Oklahoma scored the highest with 10 out of 10; California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Jersey scored the lowest with four out of 10. States with stronger surge capacity capabilities and immunization programs scored higher in this year's report, since four of the measures focus on these areas.
"The nation is nowhere near as prepared as we should be for bioterrorism, bird flu, and other health disasters," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "We continue to make progress each year, but it is limited. As a whole, Americans face unnecessary and unacceptable levels of risk."
For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for achieving an indicator or zero points if they did not achieve the indicator, therefore zero is the lowest possible overall score and 10 the highest. The data for the public health indicators are from publicly available sources or public officials in 2006.
Among the key findings: