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January 13, 2015

In a national study conducted by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Jersey ranked among the eighth worst states in the country when it comes to health outbreak preparedness and response. Only Arkansas fared worse, with New Jersey tied with Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Wyoming.

New Jersey met only three criteria the study cited as necessary to prevent, detect, diagnose, and respond to health outbreaks like Ebola, enterovirus 68, and antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

The three indicators that New Jersey did get credit for were sufficient funding for public health services; preparing for emerging health threats by scoring well on the national health security preparedness index; and having 90 percent of infants and toddlers vaccinated with the HBV vaccine.

New Jersey failed seven other criteria, however: vaccinating at least half of the population for seasonal flu this year; creating an adaption plan for climate change that includes human health; reducing the number of healthcare-acquired infections; overall performance when it came to healthcare-acquired infections as compared with the rest of the country; creating test labs in preparation for emerging threats; reporting all HIV/AIDS viral load data to the state HIV surveillance program; and meeting the national performance target of testing 90 percent of E. coli reports within four days.

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