Thursday, December 19, 2013

US needs to improve safeguards against infectious diseases, report says

Patrick M. O’Connell in American Association of Pediatrics News: Outdated systems of care and budget cuts hurt the ability of many states to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks, including pertussis and the human papillomavirus (HPV) in children, according to a new report from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Only Connecticut, Delaware and the District of Columbia meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ goal of vaccinating at least 90% of preschoolers against whooping cough. And fewer than half of states require vaccinations for HPV, education for parents about the vaccine or funding for vaccinations, according to the report. The Academy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the vaccination for both males and females at 11 or 12 years of age.

The report also found that two-thirds of states decreased funding for public health from the fiscal year ending in 2012 to 2013.

The data in the report indicates the nation has room for improvement in preventing disease outbreaks, preparing for epidemics and planning for disasters while continuing public education campaigns about the importance of vaccines and health safety best practices, said Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH.

“Infectious diseases is an area where you never can become lax,” Levi said. “We should never be playing a game of catch-up.”...

A drawing of (Borrelia burgdorfer), vector for Lyme Disease, image by Lamiot, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license 

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