What the fading Ebola epidemic can teach us about the looming Zika crisis
As director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, my job is to protect our nation’s health. As a husband and father, my family’s health and safety is always foremost on my mind. Zika virus, and the birth defects it can cause, is a new and scary threat—one that can have a significant impact on families.
Imagine this: You’re standing by a lake and you see someone drowning. You have the ability to save that person, but your hands are tied. Doctors who have spent the past three decades working in CDC’s birth defects center tell me that they have never seen a situation so urgent. The ability to prevent dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of severe birth defects creates a special responsibility – every child protected is a tragedy prevented. The ongoing Zika outbreak poses a serious threat to pregnant women. It’s been more than 50 years since we’ve seen a birth defect linked to a virus – and never before have we seen this result from a mosquito bite. Make no mistake: The Zika virus is an emergency that we need to address. It will take all of us — leaders in both the public and private sectors — to ensure we mount a robust and comprehensive response in the United States.
Few appreciate the threat of antibiotic resistance to human medicine more than readers of this blog. You know antibiotics as lifesaving “miracle” drugs that treat sepsis, save victims of burns and trauma, and are crucial to survival of patients receiving transplants and cancer treatment. At the same time, you understand the devastating consequences when these drugs don’t work anymore—when infections become resistant.
The recent drop in Ebola cases in Liberia is welcome. Many factors are contributing to this decline...
Speed is paramount in our response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as we continue to be vigilant in the fight to extinguish Ebola.