New Hampshire receives highest state score for disease preparedness

The Trust for America's Health recently assessed New Hampshire's readiness to handle disease outbreaks at eight out of 10 indicators analyzed, the highest score in the country.

TFAH completes the study, titled "Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases," annually. The study gives an analysis of national preparedness policy issues, instead of giving a "pass or fail" assessment. TFAH gives a yes or no on preparedness measures; 34 states scored five or lower out of 10 key indicators.

"I am very pleased with our score and all the hard work our staff and partners have done and the strides we have made in improving our preparedness around infectious diseases since (September 11, 2001), but there is always room for improvement," New Hampshire Director of Public Health José Montero said. "We never know when the next outbreak will strike or what it will be: influenza, MERS-CoV, meningitis, hepatitis, bioterrorism or something else. Fighting existing and emerging infectious diseases requires constant vigilance."

New Hampshire received a seven out of 10 in 2012. In 2011, the report analyzed funding and budget cuts in health departments. This year's report reviewed measures related to public health preparedness for infectious disease prevention and control.

New Hampshire received a score of "no" in two categories: it failed to vaccinate 90% of children 19-39 months of age with four doses of DTap and did not administer an influenza vaccine to of 50% of the state's population.