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Which States Are Ready for an Outbreak? The Rankings Might Surprise You.

"We cannot afford to let our guard down."

(Image via Trust for America's Health)

Ebola, influenza, some new disease that turns people into zombies — does your state have what it takes to battle an outbreak?

No state comes close to perfection, but some are a lot better prepared than others, according to a report released Thursday by The Trust for America's Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The results cut across regions and partisan lines, with states ranked on a 10-point scale.

New Jersey was a lone, under-prepared three in the well-prepared Mid-Atlantic region, while a huge chunk of western states were lacking in the criteria used to measure preparation — criteria that included vaccination prevalence, hospital staff training and facility cleanliness, food safety and public leadership.

"[D]uring the recent Ebola outbreak [we saw] that some of the most basic infectious disease controls failed when tested," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of The Trust for America's Health. "The Ebola outbreak is a reminder that we cannot afford to let our guard down. We must remain vigilant in preventing and controlling emerging threats - like MERS-CoV, pandemic flu and Enterovirus - but not at the expense of ongoing, highly disruptive and dangerous diseases [such as] seasonal flu, HIV/AIDS, antibiotic resistance and healthcare-associated infections."

America's biggest states — California, Texas, New York and Florida — all scored fairly well, but the top-scoring states were Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The state ranked dead last: Arkansas.

(Image via Trust for America's Health) (Image via Trust for America's Health)

Read the full report here.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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