A threat to Africa, a threat in the U.S., and how it reached this point . . . We’re catching up on Zika

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NewWWRZika virus epidemic: Africa should not be neglected – “It is plausible that Zika virus outbreaks occurred in recent years in Africa and remained unnoticed because of the very low capacities for detection of emergent conditions in most of the continent,” this Lancet piece notes. Now that the virus and its devastating consequences have made themselves known across the world, it points out, it must not be allowed to catch vulnerable countries on the continent unprepared.

The wrong way to fight disease – While measures for military attacks and natural disasters stand ready, virulent diseases that in the last two years include Ebola and Zika find responders “reduced to rattling a tin cup,” this Washington Post editorial notes. While Zika continues to impact neighboring countries and families in the U.S., and Congress takes a break, a still unmet White House request for funds to fight the outbreak is offered here as another reason for a robust public health emergency fund.

How a Caribbean island became a prime source of U.S. Zika cases – Examining why more than a fifth of confirmed cases of Zika in the United States are linked to people who traveled from or to the nearby Dominican Republic, this Kaiser News report by Phil Galewitz explores one of the reasons that the virus and its impacts demand comprehensive and global responses.

Zika: The Emerging Epidemic – This book by New York Times global health reporter Donald G. McNeil is a page-turner even though none of us can hope to learn the end of the story within its pages. It also is essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about how an epidemic can catch the world by surprise, and why policies fail to make use of evidence. It is a fast, riveting read that lays out the brief known history of the Zika virus both meticulously and engagingly.

 

 

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