Ohio ranks low for infectious disease control

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Ohio ranks low for infectious disease control

Ohio scores low

Ohio scored three out of 10 on key indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, joining six other states at the bottom. The top scorers met eight out of 10 indicators.

Top scorers

Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York, Virginia

Bottom scorers

Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah

Ohio ranks among the worst states when it comes to protecting residents against outbreaks of infectious diseases, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” and the resurgence of illnesses such as whooping cough and tuberculosis, according to a report released Thursday by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Buckeye State was among 28 states that met five or fewer of 10 key measures for avoiding significant numbers of outbreaks and saving billions of dollars in unnecessary health-care costs, according to the report: “Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases.”

Ohio tied with six other states — Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah — for the worst performance, meeting three out of 10 measures.

Five states — Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, New York and Virginia — tied at the top, meeting eight of 10 indicators, according to the report.

The report examined how effectively states implement infectious disease control measures, such as vaccinations, rapid diagnosis of disease and disease surveillance, as well as optimal treatment practices that avoid the overuse of antibiotics and prescription painkillers, among other things.

“The overuse of antibiotics and under-use of vaccinations along with unstable and insufficient funding have left major gaps in our country’s ability to prepare for infectious disease threats,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health.

“We cannot afford to continue to be complacent. Infectious diseases — which are largely preventable — disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and contribute to billions of dollars in unnecessary health-care costs each year.”

The repeated and improper use of antibiotics is a leading cause of the spread of infections, according to an earlier report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates that about half of the more than 268 million antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States last year were either unnecessary or inappropriate.

While prescribing rates vary dramatically by state, Ohio ranked No. 13 for overall prescriptions per capita in 2014, with a rate of 0.93 prescriptions per 1,000 residents, according to the CDC. That was well above the average prescribing rate for all states — 0.80 per 1,000 residents.

That means Ohioans may be at greater risk than residents of many other states for contracting drug-resistant infections and re-emerging diseases, which have become a growing public health threat.

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