Up for Debate: How to Stop Zika

With the WHO warning that Zika is now spreading explosively, the New York Times Room for Debate forum draws out several unique perspectives on tackling the virus.

  • Suerie Moon, Harvard Kennedy School makes the case that the WHO—which announced it will convene an emergency meeting on the virus on Monday—needs to be in charge of Zika; Moon details what that should mean in practical terms.
  • Peter Hotez, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, argues for stepped-up mosquito eradication until we have a vaccine.
  • Amy Y. Vittor, the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, argues that we must alleviate the conditions—largely symptoms of urban poverty—that facilitate the transmission of mosquito-borne viruses.
  • Given widespread use of air conditioning and good access to sanitation, it is unlikely that the Zika virus will cause outbreaks in the United States on the scale we are currently witnessing in Central and South America.
  • Christian M. Pettker, Yale School of Medicine, says that the fear of unknowns surrounding Zika in pregnancy justify the severity of the warnings for women.

The New York Times Room for Debate

The news is overflowing with a fascinating array of global health voices weighing in on the crisis. Just a sampling:

In the Guardian, Salim Al-Gailani of the University of Cambridge writes about similarities between Zika and microcephaly and mid-century Rubella worries, and he explains what we can learn by comparing the 2 diseases; and Laurie Garrett in Foreign Policy assesses the prospect of a disease never previously seen in the Western Hemisphere taking hold permanently—shifting from epidemic to endemic—and explains why a vaccine is critical.

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