Half the states — including Georgia — scored a 5 or lower on 10 key indicators for preventing, detecting and responding to disease outbreaks, according to a new report.
The response to Ebola was a central theme in the report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The Ebola crisis in the United States this year showed that “some of the most basic infectious disease controls failed when tested,” Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, said in a statement Thursday.
“The Ebola outbreak is a reminder that we cannot afford to let our guard down,’’ Levi said. “We must remain vigilant in preventing and controlling emerging threats … but not at the expense of ongoing, highly disruptive and dangerous diseases – seasonal flu, HIV/AIDS, antibiotic resistance and health-care-associated infections.”
Ebola, which has devastated West Africa, spread for the first time outside that region this year.
In early autumn, a Texas hospital initially failed to diagnose the disease in a new arrival from West Africa. When he was eventually admitted, he was fatally ill and highly contagious. Two nurses attending to him caught the virus, raising fears nationwide, but the nurses recovered after treatment.
Georgia has responded quickly to Ebola, public health officials say. The state is assembling a tiered system among the state’s hospitals for identifying and treating Ebola patients. And Emory University Hospital in Atlanta has successfully treated four Ebola patients.
The report on outbreaks, though, appeared as the CDC said Georgia had an extremely high level of flu. full story