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Improved Preventive Approaches, Risk Assessments Vital To Containing Threat Of Yellow Fever

New York Times: The Looming Threat of Yellow Fever
Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[In Brazil, there] is serious concern … that if the [yellow fever] virus starts spreading in a major city, health authorities will be ill equipped to contain it. Rio de Janeiro, for one, is aggressively vaccinating its citizens in hopes of inoculating 12 million by the end of the year. … With a global emergency stockpile of six million doses and about 12 million people living in and around Rio, it is easy to see why public health experts are worried. If Rio and one other major city experience an outbreak, it is doubtful whether stocks could be replenished fast enough to keep up with demand. The proportion of people living in urban areas, where diseases can spread far more rapidly than in rural areas with scattered populations, is forecast to rise from one-third of the planet’s population in 1950 to two-thirds by 2050. Clearly, we need to revise our risk assessments for infectious diseases to reflect this trend. … And while these emergency stockpiles are essential, if we have to call upon them we have in some way already failed. They should be our last line of defense. … History has shown that preventive approaches can be highly effective at controlling yellow fever, but if they are to work we first need to recognize there is a problem…” (5/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.