By Tom Borelli
In the wake of the surprising potential of a Zika virus epidemic in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is seeking $1.9 billion in funding to address the emerging health crisis.
CDC’s monetary request for another infectious disease emergency is a sign it is failing its fundamental mission.
For the CDC, in 2014, the surprise was the Ebola virus and this year it’s the Zika virus.
A disturbing pattern at the CDC is emerging where there is an epidemic of missing epidemics.
Statements from U.S. health officials about Zika’s potential health impacts are alarming and an indictment of CDC’s ineptitude. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” said a CDC official.
The CDC should not be surprised about infectious diseases, especially since the agency was created to combat infectious agents by its ever expanding mission as described here and here as well as a shocking record of failure detailed here which explains part of CDC’s incompetence.
Most concerning is the uncertainty surrounding the health effects of the Zika virus.
In fact, CNN reported the first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus occurred in the U.S. in 2008 but there was no meaningful investigation about a strange disease that a scientist gave his wife when he returned from working on mosquito related diseases in Africa.
A Zika virus epidemic has the potential to wreak significant health and economic havoc as the warm summer weather creates an ideal environment for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the virus to flourish. The virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
The CDC reports there are currently 388 cases of Zika in the U.S. all of which were associated with travel.
A map produced by the CDC listed 40 states where the mosquitoes can potentially transmit the virus to its human host.
A global map visualizes areas where more than 2 billion people live in places that are suitable for mosquitoes that carry the virus. According to the report, the U.S. population in the Gulf Coast states including Florida and Texas can potentially be exposed to the virus.
Most concerning is the uncertainty surrounding the health effects of the Zika virus. Since previous outbreaks were limited and a broad population has never been exposed to the virus, public health officials don’t know the full range of impact.
What we do know is that the disease is horrific, especially for pregnant women.
Infants born to mothers that were infected with the virus can have serious birth defects affecting the brain such as microcephaly – a condition where the developing brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller head size.
New information about the possible impact of the virus on birth defects is truly terrifying…
Read the rest at ConservativeReview.
Photo credit CDC/Wikimedia