CDC report finds New Hampshire prepared for emergency response

A recent report indicates that New Hampshire is making major progress toward building and strengthening its public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities, the state's Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday.

The 2013-2014 National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness, which was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides an annual picture of the nation's public health system. The report is meant to show how federal investments increased the ability of the states to respond to public health emergencies and threats like chemical releases, disease outbreaks or natural disasters.

The report highlighted multiple accomplishments for New Hampshire, including the capacity of the department's Public Health Laboratories to test for specific biological agents. The PHL passed four out of four proficiency tests in 2012 demonstrating the department's ability to receive, test and report on suspected biological agents.

"We are pleased with the results of the report," José Montero, the director of public health at the DHHS, said. "Employees at our department and around the state have put in tremendous amounts of work over the last few years to prepare for emergencies as well as some real life practice that have enabled us to improve and learn what works best for the people of New Hampshire."

The report also found that the PHL demonstrated capabilities for responding to chemical agent exposure and received a 100 percent test score on its ability to rapidly identify E. coli and Listeria samples and enter the results into the PulseNet system. New Hampshire also received an overall score of 100 for its plans to receive, stage, distribute and dispense medical assets from the Strategic National Stockpile.