Louisiana receives perfect score for preparedness

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently gave Louisiana and Mississippi high scores for their plans to deal with public health emergencies and on the performance of their public health laboratories.

For the second year in a row, the CDC issued Louisiana perfect scores in 13 categories of emergency preparedness, according to NECN.com.

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, a Louisiana state health officer, said that the requirements are becoming stricter every year because federal counterterrorism money pays for the planning efforts and supports the labs.

"They've got to go back to Congress and say, 'Look at all the things we've achieved, and look who's performing well for the money,'" Guidry said, according to NECN.com "They have to ensure the money is being used wisely and that we're continuing to improve."

Mississippi missed receiving a perfect rating for the last two years because of one category. According to the report, the state was given a 92 out of 100 for security-related issues. Its plans to ensure that shipments of treatments or preventative medicines and ensuring that the people who transport them are safe still need work.

"The arrival and transport of scarce resources will be newsworthy and may draw attention from persons unwilling to wait for the organized dispensing," the CDC said, NECN.com report. "The development of a comprehensive security plan through coordination with law enforcement is essential to maintaining control and order during this period."

Nonetheless, Mississippi’s director of health protection, Jim Craig, was enthusiastic about the report.

"It's indicative of the improvements we've put in place and shows over the last three years what we've been able to do," Craig said, NECN.com reports. "We're all very concerned about maintaining the level of preparedness that we've achieved," Craig said, according to NECN.com. "Public health preparations across the country saw an 11 percent cut in funding this year and we're hopeful there won't be any further reductions so we can continue to maintain and enhance those levels."