Major Gaps In Country’s Ability To Counter Infectious Diseases, Study Says

December 17, 2013
by Anthony Kimmery
Homeland Security Today

As concerns escalate over the disturbing growth of antibiotic resistant infectious diseases likeMethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a new report released Tuesday morning by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) said “the nation’s ability to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks are hampered by outdated systems and limited resources.”

“From antibiotic-resistant Superbugs to Salmonella to the seasonal flu, infectious diseases disrupt lives and communities,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH. “Fighting these diseases requires constant vigilance. The bad news is that we found major gaps in the country’s ability to prevent, control and treat outbreaks, leaving Americans at an unacceptable level of unnecessary risk.”

“Many infectious disease threats keep me up at night -- from the emergence of a new deadly disease, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), to the prospect of bioterrorism, to antibiotic resistant infections, to the worsening of mosquito-borne illnesses being driven by changes in the climate,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, chief executive officer and director of the UPMC Center for Health Security.

The report, Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases, said “a majority of states (34) score 5 or lower out of 10 key indicators of policies and capabilities to protect against infectious disease threats. Three states tied for the lowest score, achieving two out of 10 possible indicators, and that 8 states had the highest score, at 7 out of 10.


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