That's at least partly due to 32 states cutting their own spending on public health, even as Congress has approved nearly $2 billion to improve emergency response systems, according to the Associated Press.
In many states, federal grants are tied up in red tape, the report said. Only Florida and Illinois are fully ready to administer vaccinations and antidotes shipped from the nation's emergency stockpile in event of a bioterrorist attack, according to the government.
Only 13 states have plans for how to handle a flu pandemic, and only 11 states provided their doctors and citizens easily accessible information during last spring's outbreak of the new respiratory killer SARS â€” raising troubling questions about the nation's overall state of preparedness.
Next year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin the first comprehensive assessment of how well every state is prepared for bioterrorism and other health emergencies.