CDC Report Highlights Progress in Nation's Public Health Preparedness

"Public Health Preparedness: 2011 State-by-State Update on Laboratory Capabilities and Response Readiness Planning," is the latest report by the CDCs Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response that evaluates the nations ability to respond to public health emergencies such as disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

This report focuses on public health laboratories, which are critical for identifying and understanding health threats and disease outbreaks, and response readiness planning, which enables communities to efficiently distribute medicines and other supplies received from CDCs Strategic National Stockpile during a public health emergency. The report compares recent data to past data indicating national improvements in these two preparedness capabilities.

The CDC has released four preparedness reports evaluating several public health capabilities. The last report was released in 2010. The report released Sept. 20, 2011 updates data from past reports around state public health biological and chemical laboratory capabilities and the ability to receive and disseminated medical countermeasures to its community.

"This report documents that the US continues to make progress around public health preparedness and response" says Dr. Ali Khan, director of CDCs Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. "It also recognizes the challenges state and local health departments have to maintain the progress achieved. These can include an evolving list of health threats to the continuing economic crisis that could impact the ability to protect the health of communities."