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Global Disease Prevention Must Focus On Macrobiome, Environment

New Yorker: The Bugs That Live On Us and Around Us
Amanda Schaffer, New Yorker contributor

“…If every disease is the result, in some way, of political and scientific choices, then why don’t we make better choices? Of course, the factors that drive outbreaks — poor infrastructure, changes in land use, more frequent contact among wild and domestic animals and people — can be addressed. But doing so requires political will and sustained attention. … Recently, the international community and the U.S. have taken some steps toward faster detection and response to emerging disease, chastened in part by Ebola. But it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be sustained. ‘The history of U.S. funding is so episodic and memory is so short, it’s hard not to be pessimistic,’ Josh Michaud, the associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me. … [I]n 2015, Americans purchased over 10 billion dollars of probiotics, many of them with unproven benefits. At some point, perhaps our obsessive focus on the microbiome will be matched by attention to the macrobiome and environment around us. But that may only happen when specific business interests are threatened and demand change…” (3/18).

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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.