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Global Community Should ‘Confront Our Fears,’ Address Zika To Protect All Individuals

The Guardian: We are menaced by ever more diseases. But Zika, like most, hits the poor hardest
Mark Honigsbaum, Wellcome Trust research fellow at Queen Mary University of London and author

“…Zika is not a ‘fright and flight’ disease like Ebola; it does not spread rapidly from person to person via bodily fluids or provoke terrifying symptoms. Nor is it thought to be particularly harmful to adults … Indeed, it is hard not to resist the conclusion that, like HIV/AIDS, it is the specter of sexual transmission and the heartbreaking and highly visible defects in infants that are fueling widespread dread of the disease, not the known risks. Those risks, of course, are far lower if you are wealthy and can afford air-conditioning. … [R]ather than recoiling from Zika and seeking to insulate ourselves from the planet’s multiplying disease threats, we should recognize that we are all in the same fight and confront our fears. Stay away from Rio this summer if you are pregnant, by all means. But for the rest of us, cancelling holidays to South America or the Caribbean because of a few hysterical headlines is unlikely to help anyone’s cause, least of all our own” (2/7).

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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.