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Illinois' score on disaster preparedness? 6 out of 10.

(Flickr Creative Commons User The National Guard)
North Dakota National Guardsmen work together with volunteers in sandbag lines to to hold back the rising Red River March 16, 2010 in Fargo, N.D. Illinois scored a 6 out of 10 criteria in a report on preparedness for disasters, such as floods.

By AP / Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio


Asking "what if?" is usually pretty benign, but when a new report asks the same question, the answers are about preparedness for disasters, diseases and bioterrorism.

Illinois scores a 6 out of 10 on the Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report.  The score is unchanged from last year's study.

But what's behind those numbers? Some highlights:

  • - States got points for increasing or maintaining public health services funding last year. Illinois was among 33 that decreased funding. But Illinois' decrease, 2.6 percent, was smaller than most.
  • - Illinois is also among states without a requirement for licensed child-care centers to have a written multi-hazard evacuation plan and lacking electronic surveillance for monitoring and sharing outbreak data.
  • - Two states did worse, but most did better. Arkansas, North Dakota and Washington state got perfect 10s.

From the report in general:

  • - 27 states cut funding for public health from FY 2007-08 to 2008-09.
  • - 13 states have purchased less than 50 percent of their share of federally subsidized antiviral drugs to stockpile for use during an influenza pandemic.
  • - 14 states do not have the capacity in place to assure the timely pick-up and delivery of laboratory samples on a 24/7 basis to the Laboratory Response Network (LRN).
  • - 11 states and D.C report not having enough laboratory staffing capacity to work five 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious disease outbreak, such as H1N1.

The report is from the Trust for America's Health, a non-profit, non-partisan health advocacy group.

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