The new "Public Health Preparedness" report says emergency preparedness for public health emergencies is in good shape.

Good Progress Nationwide on Emergency Preparedness: CDC

The agency's second report on all 50 states and four localities receiving federal money for this shows improved ability to meet a public health emergency.

CDC has posted "Public Health Preparedness: Strengthening the Nation's Emergency Response State by State," a report on how well the 50 states and four local jurisdictions receiving federal money via CDC's Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement are prepared for a public health emergency. The verdict: They're doing well.

The four localities are Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles County, and New York City. The report covers activities in 2008 and 2009. It says most laboratories in the Laboratory Response Network could be reached 24/7 and could rapidly identify certain disease-causing bacteria and send reports to CDC. Most passed proficiency tests for other biological agents, it adds. All states and localities receive urgent disease reports 24/7, and all states received acceptable CDC review scores for the plans to receive and distribute Strategic National Stockpile medical supplies. Most demonstrated the ability to quickly activate and staff emergency operations centers.

"Today's report indicates that our nation is better prepared to respond to a public health emergency. It also reminds us that preparedness challenges remain and our efforts need to continue," said Dr. Ali Khan, director of CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. "We must foster improvements for rapid awareness, identification, and communication of health threats; measurable preparedness goals and response plans; and ongoing support for state and local public health."

The report lists five areas in which CDC says continued improvement is needed:

  • Maintain preparedness and eliminate gaps. State public health labs need to improve continuity of operations plans, the report's executive summary says.
  • Build on lessons learned during the H1N1 pandemic.
  • Ensure continuous funding to maintain a skilled public health workforce.
  • Expand performance measurement.
  • Promote health and prevent disease, injury, and disability in communities.

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