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Wednesday
Dec182013

NH DHHS - NH First in TFAH Assessment 

New Hampshire Receives Score of 8 out of 10 on Infectious Disease

Preparedness Assessment, Highest in the Country



Concord, NH – The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) today released an

assessment of the states’ readiness to deal with a disease outbreak

entitled Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases. New

Hampshire has received a score of 8 out of 10 on the indicators analyzed,

the highest score of any state and the only one to achieve it. The states

received either a yes or no on the preparedness measures. The majority of

states (34) scored 5 or lower out of 10 key indicators in the report.



This is the TFAH’s annual preparedness-related report, but unlike “Ready or

Not” reports of the past 10 years, this and future reports will focus on

the analysis of key national preparedness policy issues rather than

measuring and issuing state-specific scores against determined indicators.

New Hampshire received a score of 7 out of 10 in 2012. The 2011 report did

not rank states but looked at funding and budget cuts. This year’s report

looks at 10 measures that are related to public health preparedness, but

are not the same indicators from year to year. This analysis offers a good

snapshot of where the states are in infectious disease prevention and

control, rather than a measure of year-over-year improvement.



“I am very pleased with our score,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of

Public Health at DHHS, “and all the hard work our staff and partners have

done and the strides we have made in improving our preparedness around

infectious diseases since 9/11, but there is always room for improvement.

We never know when the next outbreak will strike or what it will be:

influenza, MERS-CoV, meningitis, hepatitis, bioterrorism or something else.

Fighting existing and emerging infectious diseases requires constant

vigilance.”



There were two areas where New Hampshire received a “no” score. The first

was the vaccination of 90% of children 19–39 months of age with four doses

of DTaP, for which New Hampshire achieved 88.7% in 2012. The second was the

immunization of 50% of the population against influenza, and during the

2012–13 season 59.2% of children 6 months to 17 years and 46.1% of adults

were vaccinated in the State. The Outbreaks report provides recommendations

that address many of the major gaps in infectious disease control and

prevention states are experiencing, including:



Strengthening fundamental capabilities – maintaining an expert

workforce and giving them state-of-the-art tools required to conduct

investigations to quickly detect, control and treat disease

outbreaks;

Countering antibiotic resistance and prioritizing research and

development of medical countermeasures should be top health and

national security priorities;

Increasing the number of Americans receiving recommended vaccinations

and routine screenings for particular diseases, since these are the

safest and most effective ways to reduce infectious diseases in the

United States;

Enhancing disease surveillance and ensuring public health

laboratories have the equipment and capacity to not only test for

common problems like foodborne illnesses but also for new and

large-scale threats like bioterrorism or a pandemic;

Improving global coordination to prevent and contain emerging new

illnesses such as MERS-CoV while maintaining defenses against

“old-school” threats like malaria and tuberculosis; and

Shoring up the nation’s public health preparedness capabilities to

respond to major disease outbreaks or acts of bioterrorism to ensure

new threats can be rapidly identified and contained.



To read the entire report, go to

http://healthyamericans.org/reports/outbreaks2013/. For more information

about any of the issues addressed, visit the NH Department of Health and

Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov

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