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PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS: MOBILIZING STATE BY STATE

Section 1: Public Health Preparedness in the States and DC

 

Section 1 presents data on disease detection and investigation, public health laboratories, and response. These essential activities support all nine CDC preparedness goals. Table 2 describes some of the key improvements compared to 2001.

Table 2: Progress in Public Health Preparedness, 2001-2007

  Then (2001)1 Now (2007)2
Disease Detection and Investigation Some state public health departments did not have enough epidemiologists to investigate the suspected disease cases and had to borrow untrained staff from other programs. The cooperative agreement supports additional staff in every state to monitor and investigate diseases and respond to emergencies. Other public health professionals have also been trained to provide support when preparedness staff are overwhelmed.
Laboratory Testing Some state public health laboratories could not perform rapid tests for anthrax because they lacked equipment, supplies, or trained staff. Every state has at least one public health laboratory that can perform rapid tests for anthrax and other bioterrorism agents, and 47 public health laboratories can test for a variety of chemical agents.
Response: Relationships with First Responders State and local public health departments had not fully anticipated the extent of coordination needed among first responders. Public health departments in every state have established relationships and conducted exercises with emergency management and other key players.
Response: Coordination An ad-hoc center at CDC helped coordinate state and local response efforts. Emergency operations centers are in place at CDC and almost all state public health departments to coordinate response activities, and roles and responsibilities are defined across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.
Response: Communication Public health professionals did not have a system in place to communicate effectively with physicians during a crisis. All state public health departments have systems to communicate rapidly with physicians and the public.
Response: Intervention Major metropolitan areas did not have the ability to provide medicine to large portions of their population in the case of a bioterrorist event. Major metropolitan areas are working to provide medicines to 100% of their population within 48 hours.
1 Government Accountability Office, Public Health Response to Anthrax Incidents of 2001 (GAO-04-152); 2003;
2 CDC data; 2007

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