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Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Spreading To U.S., Worldwide; Experts Call For Prevention Methods, Including Vaccine Development

Forbes: With First Texas Zika Case, Vaccine Desperately Needed, Expert Says
“…[Peter Hotez, director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development in Houston,] called [Zika’s] threat unprecedented in modern years because the only disease that compares is rubella, a relatively mild illness but which causes birth defects in the children of mothers who had the disease during pregnancy. The only way we stopped rubella was a vaccine, and that’s the best option here as well, Hotez said…” (Haelle, 1/13).

USA TODAY: As diseases proliferate, mosquitoes becoming Public Enemy No. 1
“…Brazil isn’t just fighting Zika. That country is also combating outbreaks caused by dengue and chikungunya viruses, which are known for causing fevers and debilitating joint pain. Dengue can be fatal. The USA needs to prepare for a similar scenario, in which epidemics of multiple mosquito-borne diseases break out simultaneously, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who co-wrote a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Szabo, 1/14).

TIME: Why You Can Get So Many Diseases from Mosquitoes
“Zika virus, the latest mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States, joins a long list of other infections the insects can carry, like malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, and West Nile. How can these bugs — so tiny that we often miss them at first swipe — be responsible for so many infections? It turns out their vampire-like tendencies are largely to blame…” (Sifferlin, 1/13).

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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.