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Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential Unintended Consequences Of Zika Response

Huffington Post: Zika and Rubella: Vaccine Lessons for Our Future
Robert Marion, chief of genetic medicine in the department of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center

“…The [MMR vaccine that helped curb rubella-related congenital abnormalities] was almost a miracle. But one person’s miracle can be another person’s calamity. In the 1990s, the prevalence of [autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)] soared. Although the dramatic rise in reported cases was almost certainly due to health care providers having become more sensitive to the symptoms and signs of the condition, this explanation was not acceptable to many parents. … I hope that as we enter the age of Zika, we can learn from our experience with rubella, that although the development of a vaccine to prevent the tragedy of [Zika-related birth defects] will prove life-saving, it’s almost inevitable that eventually, someone somewhere will blame this miraculous substance for causing one or another of the world’s ills. And when that happens, it’s imperative that we in the scientific community urge the public to reserve judgment until definitive proof can be found to either prove or disprove the claim…” (2/11).

The Hill: As we respond to Zika, don’t forgot about unintended consequences
Amanda D. Rodewald, director of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, professor in the department of natural resources at Cornell University, faculty fellow at Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and Robert F. Schumann faculty fellow

“…Advocates [in favor of using DDT in response to the Zika virus] exemplify a common reaction to urgent human need: acting quickly without careful consideration of the long-term consequences. … [A] careful review of strategies to reduce Zika risk is needed, and … several alternatives exist that may be more effective, without the weighty human health and ecological burdens of DDT. … Of course we cannot act with perfect knowledge; there will always be some errors and missteps. However, we must recognize that our health and well-being are inextricably linked to healthy, functioning ecosystems. We must acknowledge that rash decisions made with limited attention to the long-term are very likely to produce unintended and often undesirable outcomes” (2/12).

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