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Ebola Outbreak News: Preparation Against Deadly Disease Encouraged; 26 States Scored Low In Disease Preparedness

Update Date: Jan 18, 2017 07:20 AM EST
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International experts are calling for preparation for the next Ebola outbreak. This includes commitment to develop the vaccine for the deadly virus.

During the West African Ebola outbreak, a vaccine was developed and has been shown to be safe and effective. However, international experts from Wellcome and University of Minnesota's CIDRAP Ebola Team B said that there are still holes in the level of preparedness for the next Ebola outbreak.

Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome director, said that the "success of future efforts will depend on our continued action with the Ebola vaccine." He added that the sense of urgency must never be lost.

In a report co-chaired by Farrar, there are three main areas that need to be done to contain an Ebola outbreak. Ebola vaccines need to be readily available and be rapidly deployed. More effort is needed to identify challenges and barriers. The need for an Ebola virus disease prevention programme is also highlighted, which includes vaccination of frontline workers and provision of vaccine stockpiles.

Experts also recommend creating Ebola vaccine champions. Results of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine said it has a high level of protection against the disease which could prevent an outbreak. The vaccine was fast-tracked by Merck, Sharpe & Dohme during the epidemic, but it came too late to have a significant impact.

In December, a report published by Trust For America's Health said that 26 states scored six or lower out of ten in terms of public health preparedness against deadly disaster or diseases like Zika or Ebola outbreaks. Indicators include access to emergency healthcare, climate change readiness, flu vaccination rate,food safety, public health accreditation, public health funding, public health laboratories and reducing healthcare-associated infections.

States that got a low score on the key indicators such of preparedness include Ohio and Washington, D.C., with Alaska and Idaho with the least score. The most prepared state in terms of disaster and disease like Ebola outbreak is Massachusetts.

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