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Editorial, Letters To Editor, Opinion Pieces Address Zika Virus Response

New York Times: Zika Virus Requires an Urgent Response
Editorial Board

“…It is imperative that the World Health Organization not repeat its sluggish response to the Ebola crisis and act urgently this time to mobilize international action [against Zika virus]. … Regrettably … the World Health Organization seems, once again, to be dozing and has yet to generate a broad and coordinated international response. By coincidence, the WHO executive board is currently meeting in Geneva, so this is the perfect time for the agency to show leadership by convening an emergency committee of experts to take stock of the Zika pandemic and advise the WHO director general, Dr. Margaret Chan, on how best to combat it” (1/28).

New York Times: The Zika Virus Leaves Salvadoran Women in a Serious Bind
The newspaper published two letters to the editor — one from Piper Hoffman, executive director of Having Kids, and one from Lauri Romanzi, obstetrician-gynecologist and project director of Fistula Care Plus at EngenderHealth — regarding its recent article about the government of El Salvador issuing a warning about Zika virus and urging women in the country to not get pregnant until 2018 to avoid having children born with microcephaly (1/27).

TIME: We’ve Neglected Diseases Like the Zika Virus for Too Long
Marilyn Parsons, professor of neglected infectious diseases and director of training and professional development at the Center for Infectious Disease Research

“…Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases called for a ‘full-court press’ to develop a vaccine for Zika. I and many other scientists received an urgent notice advising of new funding released to research the Zika virus. Renewed urgency from officials is welcome, but it can take years, even decades, to develop new drugs and vaccines for complex and neglected diseases such as Zika, chikungunya, or dengue. … Understanding the interaction between pathogens and our immune systems is critical if we want to develop solutions. Waiting until they are on our doorstep is reckless and shortsighted. Where lives are at risk, we should bring every resource we have to speeding up this process…” (1/26).

CNN: How to cut off the spread of a Zika virus
Ford Vox, physician and medical analyst

“…Without a medical development such as a vaccine, or a novel pest control such as the Oxitec mosquito, Zika seems destined to start spreading in the Southern United States, starting with Florida and south Texas. … This leaves only public health recommendations for our protection. They should be upfront and realistic. … In this case the CDC should warn that we do not have capacity to test all women properly. This fact should weigh heavily on women who are considering travel to Zika-affected areas. It should affect family planning decisions, certainly in the southernmost regions of the United States with the Aedes aegypti mosquito…” (1/26).

The Guardian: Zika isn’t a global health threat like Ebola. It needs a targeted response
Clare Wenham, LSE fellow in global health politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science

“…Through understanding prevention and treatment mechanisms for mosquito-borne diseases, … the global community will be much better prepared to respond to and prevent diseases such as Zika in the future. As with other outbreaks, politics will decide if and how Zika will be controlled. But we should steer the conversation on to the positive steps of combating mosquito-borne diseases in a comprehensive manner, rather than turning Zika into a security issue, which may only result in mass panic and a potentially unsuitable global response” (1/27).

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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.