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U.S. Must Prepare For Potential Spread Of Zika Virus

New York Times: Zika Is Coming
Peter J. Hotez, pediatrician and microbiologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

“…If mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus reach the United States later this spring or summer, [Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Biloxi, Miss., or Mobile, Ala.,] are the major urban areas where the sickness will spread. … Several Zika vaccines are being created, but none will be ready in time for this year’s epidemic. In place of a vaccine we need a robust program of mosquito control and environmental cleanup in the poorest neighborhoods of our Gulf Coast cities and in Florida. … We need to improve access to contraception, and provide pregnant women with proper window screens for their homes and information about the risk of Zika. Finally, we will need to train teams to visit homes in poor neighborhoods and instruct occupants on how to empty water containers and spray for mosquitoes … At the federal level this effort would need to bring in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But we’ll also need parallel approaches at the state, county, and city levels. … Zika is a potentially devastating health crisis headed for our region, and we might have only a few weeks to stop it before pregnant women become infected” (4/8).

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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.