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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky Scores Eight Out of 10 in Bioterrorism Preparedness Study

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, December 13, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Vikki Franklin, (502)564-6786  

Only Two States Ranked Higher

A report released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) highlighted Kentucky’s progress in preparing to respond to acts of bioterrorism or public health emergencies. Kentucky achieved eight out of 10 criteria used to measure states’ preparedness, ranking in the top 10 percent nationally.

"This report showcases the success of Kentucky's health-related preparedness efforts," said Governor Ernie Fletcher. "The collaborative effort across the commonwealth to increase our readiness to respond to emergencies, whether the cause is manmade or natural, has been truly unprecedented. This continued cooperation will yield even greater levels of preparedness in the future."

Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, M.D., said, “The Department for Public Health and its partners have worked together collaboratively for several years to increase Kentucky’s ability to respond to any public health threat or emergency. This report recognizes what we have been able to accomplish together.”

“Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism – 2006” examined 10 key indicators to gauge state preparedness and determine America’s overall readiness to respond to bioterrorist attacks and other health emergencies. This is the fourth year that TFAH conducted a review of bioterrorism and public health preparedness. Last year, Kentucky received six out of 10 indicators.

Only two states achieved more indicators than Kentucky. Kentucky is one of 10 states to achieve eight out of 10 indicators. Kansas and Oklahoma scored the highest, at nine out of 10, and California, Iowa, Maryland and New Jersey scored the lowest, at four out of 10.

The eight indicators Kentucky received were:

· Has sufficient BioSafety 3-level labs for testing select agents;
· Has enough lab scientists available to run tests for anthrax or plague;
· Has year-round, lab-based influenza surveillance;
· Has two weeks of hospital bed surge capacity in a moderate pandemic;
· Increased or maintained season flu vaccination rate for adults over age 65;
· Has an electronic disease tracking system to collect and monitor data compliant with standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
· Does not have a nursing workforce shortage; and
· Increased or maintained the level of funding for public health services from fiscal year 2005 to fiscal year 2006.

Kentucky did not receive credit for two indicators:

· Achieved "green" status for Strategic National Stockpile delivery - Kentucky recently completed a federally-monitored, full-scale exercise of its SNS plan and will receive news of its new status in 2007. Currently, the state is ranked at amber, the ranking below green.
· At or above the national median for percentage of adults over age 65 who have ever received a pneumonia vaccination –  The percentage of Kentuckians age 65 and older who have ever received a pneumonia vaccination improved from 57.7 percent in 2004 to 62.9 percent in 2005. Despite the improvement, Kentucky ranked slightly below the national median of 65.7 percent for 2005.

“Although we still have work to do, this report further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring Kentucky’s public health system is ready to respond to emergencies,” said Hacker.

For the full text of the report visit the Trust for America’s Health site at:




Last Updated 12/13/2006