Mississippi scores well in CDC preparedness report

The Mississippi State Department of Health announced on Thursday that the state outperformed target scores in every measured area as part of a new report on public health and emergency preparedness capabilities.

The 2013-2014 National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness is a report prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report is meant to show how federal investments enhance the ability of the U.S. to respond to public health threats and emergencies.

Mississippi performed well above the target total in the three areas of public health laboratory testing, emergency operations coordination and emergency public information and warning.

"The Mississippi State Department of Health works to safeguard our state and communities from public health threats and ensure that the scale, timing, or unpredictability of a threat doesn't overwhelm our systems and capabilities," Jim Craig, the director of health protection with the MSDH, said.

Some examples of Mississippi's scores include the lead response members of public health staff taking no longer than 11 minutes to report for immediate duty, beating the goal of 60 minutes, analyzing and entering 94 percent of E. coli-positive lab tests into the CDC's database within four working days, achieving the target of 90 percent, and scoring at least 99 out of a 100-point scale in the State Technical Assistance Review.

"Measuring our preparedness efforts is essential for us to gauge improvements, identify gaps, and foster accountability," Craig said. "We're pleased with this particular snapshot, but there is always work to be done."

The preparedness capabilities for each state are funded through the CDC's Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant. The MSDH received a total of $6,565,242 through the CDC PHEP grant in 2010-2012.