Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Report: Boise and Idaho at Risk in Fight Against Bioterror, Health Emergencies

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 8:52 AM

A new report on preparedness for bioterror and health emergencies indicates that Boise is at risk of losing its "readiness initiative" classification and Idaho is at risk for losing support of career epidemiology field officers.

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the ninth annual "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism" this morning. According to the study, federal and state budget cuts are putting key programs at risk that are designed to detect and respond to bioterrorism, new disease outbreaks and natural or accidental disasters.

Boise joined 50 other cities at risk for elimination from the Cities Readiness Initiative. The initiative supports the ability to rapidly distribute and administer vaccines and medications during emergencies. Portland and Salt Lake City were also deemed "at risk."

Idaho joined 23 other states "at risk to lose career epidemiology field officers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts who supplement state and local gaps to rapidly prevent and respond to outbreaks and disasters, such as during the H1N1 flu pandemic.

"We're seeing a decade's worth of progress eroding in front of our eyes," said Dr. Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH. "Preparedness had been on an upward trajectory, but now some of the most elementary capabilities-including the ability to identify and contain outbreaks, provide vaccines and medications during emergencies, and treat people during mass traumas-are experiencing cuts in every state across the country."

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