Congress is finally answering the call to address the alarming infectious disease threat of the Zika Virus. However, the level of funding included in their recent votes is not close to enough. The effect will be particularly disastrous for local governments across the country.
All of us encounter a pesky mosquito from time to time. For most people, it's little more than a momentary nuisance. A nip, a few days of itching, and we move on with our lives. Many people don't get by so easily, unfortunately.
Early in my career, I was galvanized by a disease that ravaged my country and many others around the world: malaria. My personal experiences with malaria in the field as a young public health officer twenty-seven years ago had a profound effect on my trajectory.
Recently, I got a call from a young woman who is planning her wedding. She and her fiancée have booked a honeymoon in South America, but with outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, she's rethinking her plans.
At the end of December, with the wrap-up of the UN Millennium Development Goals, the global health community collectively patted ourselves on the back for reducing malaria-related deaths by 60 percent, saving 6.2 million lives and reducing new cases by 37 percent since 2000.
The rapid spread of Zika virus through the Americas, together with the association of infection with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have propelled this previously ignored virus into the limelight. So what is this virus and where did it come from?