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New Outbreaks Like Zika Divert Attention From Existing Mosquito-Borne Disease Challenges

The Guardian: Outbreaks like Zika distract us from other medical emergencies
Gary Finnegan, editor in chief at Break Dengue

“…[E]fforts to develop … dengue response strategies are being slowed down by the outbreak of a more headline grabbing mosquito-borne virus — Zika. … The Zika outbreak has, quite rightly, spent a long time in the spotlight. But we can’t simply move the attention away from Zika and on to the next new story. We can’t afford to narrow our focus to one particular disease or outbreak. Innovative mosquito control measures could help to curb the number of people who become infected [with Zika, dengue, and other mosquito-borne diseases], while research on new treatments for one disease can often turn up leads in the fight against another. … Disease surveillance tools can prove invaluable in mapping cases worldwide and providing authorities and NGOs with valuable information to help reduce the spread of the disease. Let’s take this opportunity to put the spotlight on all the major challenges posed by other diseases and to further develop tools such as Dengue Track that will help us overcome them as a group…” (12/28).

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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.