Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential For Mosquito Elimination, Latin American Women’s Access To Abortion, Contraceptives In Light Of Zika

USA TODAY: Mosquitoes, this time it is war
Alex Berezow, founding editor of RealClearScience and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors

“…It is time to launch a global initiative to eradicate [mosquitoes]. … Malaria, West Nile, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and various types of encephalitis are all transmitted by these tiny bloodsuckers. … It should be noted, however, that not all mosquitoes are bad (to humans, anyway). … Even so, that means at least several dozen species act as human disease vectors. … Eradication will not be a trivial undertaking. … Yet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In fact, efforts are already underway to eliminate the most noxious mosquito offenders. … [A]ny reduction in the number of mosquito-borne infections is a gigantic win for humanity. We should use every tool we have to wipe them out” (2/3).

The Guardian: Zika’s spread in Brazil is a crisis of inequality as much as health
Nicole Froio, freelance journalist and political blogger based in Brazil

“…[I]t’s no coincidence that most Zika-related microcephaly cases were found in the north-east of the country: of course, the weather there is hot, which is prime breeding ground for the Aedis aegypti, but it is also where most of Brazil’s poverty is concentrated. … So, although Zika appears to be a health crisis, it’s more a crisis about extreme inequality and underfunded public services. … I am hopeful that a solution for the Zika virus will be found, but if these inequalities are not addressed it’s only a matter of time until a similar crisis re-emerges and makes the most vulnerable suffer yet again” (2/3).

The Conversation: Why don’t we wipe mosquitoes off the face of the Earth?
Mike Jeffries, teaching fellow in ecology at Northumbria University

“…Mosquitoes are credited with causing more misery and loss to humanity than any other organism (with the obvious exception of ourselves). … Which begs the question: what good do they do — and if we could wipe them from the face of the Earth should we? … Arguments in favor of mosquitoes fall into two broad categories. First that their sheer numbers are an essential link in some food webs … The second argument is that mosquitoes have a more general role providing ecosystem services such as pollination by adults or driving the release of nutrients as their young feed on organic detritus. … [However, t]here are plenty of other midges and mites, black flies and fleas out there just waiting for the opportunity to step in. Be careful what you wish for” (2/2).

The Guardian: If women with Zika risk shouldn’t get pregnant, they need abortion access
Jessica Valenti, columnist and staff writer for Guardian U.S.

“As the Zika virus continues to spread, in what is now an official public health emergency causing severe neurological birth defects across multiple countries, some governments are calling on women to delay pregnancy — even though birth control is hard to access and abortion is illegal in [many Latin American nations]. … The concern from international women’s health organizations is not only that women lack reproductive care options, but that the lack of options could lead to an increase of illegal and unsafe abortions. … The recommendations as they stand are not just unrealistic, they’re dangerous. Because if there’s one thing that public health experts know, it’s this: women who don’t want to be pregnant will find some way not to be, including illegal and unsafe abortions” (2/3).

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