Zika Hearings Prompt Plea for Plans

As the US Senate embarks on hearings today on the potential threat of the Zika virus, Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, a Republication from Louisiana—a state facing a high risk for Zika—took aim at the inefficient pattern of outbreak-panic-reactionary response that has marked the world’s response to recent public health crises.

Cassidy, a doctor who has worked in public health for nearly 30 years, calls for a new 2-tiered strategy of proactive research and reactionary response, connecting predicative models of disease hotspots with travel patterns, and replacing reactionary emergency funding with stable ongoing funding.

If this type of strategy was in place, Cassidy says, the current Zika crisis could have been avoided: “Zika is not new—it was first identified in 1946 and reemerged in the Pacific around 2007, but it attracted very little research or study prior to reaching the Americas and garnering significant media attention.”
The Hill (Op-Ed)

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