28 states ill-prepared for infectious disease outbreak, report finds

When it comes to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks, 28 states and the District of Columbia received failing grades in a new report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"The overuse of antibiotics and underuse of vaccinations along with unstable and insufficient funding have left major gaps in our country's ability to prepare for infectious disease threats," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. "We cannot afford to continue to be complacent. Infectious diseases — which are largely preventable — disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and contribute to billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs each year."

The report graded states on 10 key indicators surrounding various types of outbreaks, including flu vaccination rates and vaccine requirements for schools, HIV/AIDS surveillance, climate change adaptation plans and E. coli testing rates.

Five states — Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York and Virginia — tied for the high score of passing eight of the 10 indicators.

But 28 states and the District of Columbia fared much worse. Below is a breakdown of their scores:

Five out of 10: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington

Four out of 10: Alabama, the District, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming

Three out of 10: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah

"We need to reboot our approach so we support the health of every community by being ready when new infectious threats emerge," said Paul Kuehnert, a RWJF director.

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