WASHINGTON — South Dakota scored a six out of 10 points in a recent report on the states’ readiness for an Ebola or other infectious disease outbreaks.

The state’s performance put it just above the middle in terms of states’ preparedness.

The report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that the Ebola outbreak exposes serious underlying gaps in the nation's ability to manage severe infectious disease threats.

Half of states and Washington, D.C. scored five or lower out of 10 key indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to outbreaks.  Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia tied for the top score — achieving eight out of 10 indicators.  Arkansas has the lowest score at two out of 10.  The indicators are developed in consultation with leading public health experts based on data from publicly available sources or information provided by public officials.

The Outbreaks report recommends that it is time to rethink and modernize the health system to better match existing and emerging global disease threats.  Priority improvements should include:

Scores (Northern Plains states in bold.)

8 out of 10: Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
7 out of 10: California, Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
6 out of 10: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.
5 out of 10: Alabama, D.C., Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and West Virginia.
4 out of 10: Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Washington.
3 out of 10: Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Wyoming.
2 out of 10: Arkansas.