Zika, the virus which has been linked to microcephaly in infants, has largely been associated with Brazil, but it's also a serious problem in Puerto Rico, and getting worse.
In Puerto Rico, there are some 400 confirmed cases of Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes and through sexual contact, and public health experts predict that eventually as many as 80 percent of the island's 3.5 million residents could become infected.Basically, the next US president is going to have take Zika very seriously. And there is one candidate who seems to realize that.
...U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies. The World Health Organization has said there is strong scientific consensus that Zika can also cause Guillain-Barre, a rare neurological syndrome that causes temporary paralysis in adults.
The connection between Zika and microcephaly first came to light last fall in Brazil, which now has confirmed more than 1,100 cases of microcephaly that it considers to be related to Zika infections in mothers.
CDC director Tom Frieden visited Puerto Rico last month to assess the situation on the island, which is known to have the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species linked to repeated outbreaks of dengue and now Zika. It is present in about 30 U.S. states.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is dispatching two top aides to Puerto Rico this weekend for a fact-finding trip to learn more about the Zika virus, her campaign said on Tuesday.I did search to see if any of the other remaining candidates were zeroing in on Zika, but I could not find anything. If I'm leaving anyone out, it's not intentional.
Clinton aides Amanda Renteria and Ann O'Leary will meet with officials on the island territory, which has become a breeding ground for the virus in the United States.
...Clinton said in a statement provided by her campaign to Reuters that more must be done to combat the spread of Zika in Puerto Rico, which has an abundant mosquito population and also a decades-long recession that has made curbing that population difficult.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking this threat seriously and it has been working closely with Puerto Rico. But I want to be sure that we are truly doing all we can to fight the Zika virus from spreading," Clinton said.
"Zika is an urgent problem and we need to act now," Clinton added.
As I have said previously, one of the ways in which I assess candidates is "look[ing] for examples, on the campaign trail, of how a candidate might respond to something if they were president."
Once again, I am pleased to see the candidate I support responding like someone who is president. Or will be. And needs to know what's going on so she's ready on Day One.
Because the people of Puerto Rico, along with an increasingly large number of US states, are going to have to depend on a president who knows what's happening and is prepared to take action.