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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jay Lynch, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Cell

Date: September 22, 2011


Delaware's Division of Public Health scored 98 out of 100 in a national report on public health preparedness programs released Sept. 20. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's report, "Public Health Preparedness: 2011 State-by-State Update on Laboratory Capabilities and Response Readiness Planning" also shows that the Delaware Public Health Laboratory passed all four proficiency tests and received 100 percent on using advanced DNA tests to correctly identify a strain of E. coli.

The new report features national-level data on activities from 2007- 2010 in the 50 states and four localities supported by the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement.

"The scores show that our Division of Public Health is serving Delaware citizens well," said Governor Jack Markell. "A strong state public health system is vital to our wellbeing. This report tells us Delaware is ready to respond o unexpected health threats that no one ever wants to see happen, but we need to be perpetually prepared for."

"I'm very proud of DPH's performance," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "The ability to detect and respond to health threats, whether confined to a limited area or widespread such as the one featured in the current movie 'Contagion,' depends on the availability of laboratory equipment, a trained workforce, accurate and consistent methods, and rapid data systems. We have all the right pieces in place."

"Contagion"is a movie thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. Life and death situations and heroic scientists battling against time and heavy odds to track the source of killer diseases and contain them before they wipe out entire communities are not just movie plots. It's what the CDC and state public health agencies prepare for every day.

DPH's review scores are as follows:

In addition to its 98 percent average, the local jurisdiction received a 98 percent average on its Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) jurisdiction preparedness assessment.

To see the complete report, go to

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.