US ill-prepared to face next health crisis, study finds

Twenty-six states and Washington, D.C., scored a six or lower out of 10 key indicators of public health preparedness in a report from the Trust for America's Health.

The report, called, "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism," found the U.S. is frequently caught unprepared when a new public health threat arises, such as Zika, the Ebola virus or threats of bioterrorism, which typically requires diverting attention and resources from other priorities.

The lowest scoring states were Alaska and Idaho, which scored three out of 10. Massachusetts scored the highest with 10 out of 10. North Carolina and Washington State earned nines.

"Health emergencies can quickly disrupt, derail and divert resources from other ongoing priorities and efforts from across the government," said Rich Hamburg, interim president and CEO of TFAH. "Many areas of progress that were made after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks to improve health security have been undercut. We aren't adequately maintaining a strong and steady defense, leaving us unnecessarily vulnerable when new threats arise."

To see the scores for each state and more comprehensive findings from the report, click here.

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