A national study of the capabilities of states to protect against infectious disease threats puts Missouri in the top third of states. But Missouri’s shortcomings are troublesome.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-financed study looks at ten issues. Only one state hits the mark on eight of them. Seven states get seven of the coals. Missouri is one of nine states to get six of ten. Two-thirds of the states get scores of five or lower.
Deputy Director Rich Hamburg with the Trust for America’s Health says Missouri fails in two critical areas–meeting federal health and human services goals for vaccinations against whooping cough and seasonal flu. “Only one quarter of the states vaccinated their citizens against the seasonal flu,” he says–and Missouri is not one of that quarter. “One if five Americans get the flu.” Missouri is also one of 48 states not reaching the federal health agency’s goal of 90-percent innoculations agianst the whooping cough. Hamburg says that’s troubling at a time when the nation counted the most whooping cough cases since 1955 last year.
Missouri shows well in its state health labs capabilities to respond to and counter infectious diseases. But it’s one of 33 states that hasn’t maitnained or increased public health funding. And the study says it has not developed a plan to deal with human health needs caused by climate change.