CDC says U.S. prepared to investigate urgent disease reports

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a new report that found that all 50 states have the ability to investigate urgent disease reports, including bioterror attacks, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr. Ali Khan, director of CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, said that both state and local health departments have made significant progress toward improving public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities.

"The report indicates that our nation is better prepared to respond to a public health emergency. It also reminds us that preparedness challenges remain and our efforts need to continue,” Khan said. “We must foster improvements for rapid awareness, identification, and communication of health threats; measurable preparedness goals and response plans; and ongoing support for state and local public health.”

The report presented a broad range of preparedness and response information that included ability to respond to real-time events and emergencies.

According to the report, 90 percent of states and localities demonstrated the ability to activate and rapidly staff their emergency operations centers for drills, exercises or real incidents. Approximately 96 percent of those developed improvement plans following these activities.

The CDC report also showed that chemical laboratory capabilities and capacities were strong in most states. Approximately 72 percent of LRN chemical laboratories were proficient for detecting and measuring exposure to chemical agents and more than half of the labs are proficient in one or more additional methods identified by CDC as important for responding to chemical emergencies.