Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released the “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014” report. In midst of Ebola, the report outlines how domestic cases of Ebola have exposed serious underlying gaps in the national ability to manage severe infectious disease threats.
Some key findings from the report include progress and gaps in the following areas:
- Preparing for Emerging Threats: Significant advances have been made in preparing for public health emergencies since the September 11, 2001 and subsequent anthrax attacks, but gaps remain and have been exacerbated as resources have been cut over time.
- Vaccinations: More than 2 million preschoolers, 35 percent of seniors and a majority of adults do not receive all recommended vaccinations.
- Healthcare-Associated Infections: While healthcare-associated infections have declined in recent years due to stronger prevention policies, around one out of every 25 people who are hospitalized each year still contracts a healthcare-associated infection.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections and Related Disease Treatment and Prevention: The number of new HIV infections grew by 22 percent among young gay men, and 48 percent among young Black men (between 2008 and 2010); more than one-third of gonorrhea cases are now antibiotic-resistant; and nearly three million Baby Boomers are infected with hepatitis C, the majority of whom do not know they have it.
- Food Safety: Around 48 million Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year.