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U.S. Should Learn From Brazil’s Experience With Zika, Address Sanitation Issues In Poor Communities

CNN: What Brazil could teach U.S. about Zika
Amanda Klasing, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

“…The [Zika] outbreak in Brazil exposed longstanding human rights problems that in turn exacerbated its impact. … Some communities in Alabama face conditions that are similar [to Brazil’s] in important ways. Like the northeast of Brazil, U.S. Southern states are some of the poorest, and there are pockets of communities and homes within them that have no safe disposal for raw sewage. Activists … are raising the alarm bells over how years of poor sanitation has a negative health impact on people, and children in particular. … Local mosquito transmission of the Zika virus has already taken place in Texas and Florida. There’s no evidence that a serious U.S. outbreak is on the horizon, but Zika is only one of many public health problems that could be spurred into being by the ‘right’ mix of bad conditions. Brazil serves as an important lesson. Mosquitoes and neglected tropical diseases thrive in forgotten pockets of poverty. The United States should take note” (7/22).

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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.