Want to get depressed about infectious disease preparedness?

I was perusing this RWJF sponsored report, “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases”:

The Ebola outbreak has been a major wake-up call to the United States — highlighting serious gaps in the country’s ability to manage severe disease outbreaks and contain their spread.

It is alarming that many of the most basic infection disease controls failed when tested. After more than a decade of focus on preparing for public health emergencies in the wake of the September 11 and anthrax tragedies, there have been troubling errors, lapses and scrambles to recreate practices and policies that were supposed to have been long considered and well established.

And that’s just the first paragraph. More than a third of seniors and most adults don’t get all recommended vaccinations. Thirty-six states couldn’t vaccinate even half their population against the flu. Fifteen states didn’t even get 90% of kids vaccinated to Hepatitis B. Still, one out of 25 hospitalizations results in a hospital-acquired infection. Forty states failed to reduce the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections in recent years. New HIV infections in certain populations are still increasing. Three million baby boomers have hepatitis C, and most of them don’t know it.

And about 48 million people get a foodborne illness each year.

I got all of that from just the key findings on the lower half of page 5. The document is 112 pages long. There are some decent charts, like this one:


We can do better.



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