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Mosquito-Borne Disease

- July 22, 2016
Can the U.S. prevent a Zika outbreak?
  • Overview
  • Current Situation
  • Chronology
  • Pro/Con
  • More...
Featured Report

Bloodthirsty and ubiquitous, the mosquito is a carrier of death and disease. The roster of mosquito-borne illnesses is long: yellow fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, dengue and the deadliest of all, malaria, which kills more than 400,000 people a year and sickens at least 200 million. The latest scourge is Zika, a fast-moving virus that can cause severe birth defects, including devastating brain damage in newborns. As mosquitoes spread Zika throughout the Americas, many travelers and athletes plan to avoid next month's Olympics in Brazil, the disease's epicenter. With the mosquito season now underway in the United States, health officials warn that Zika could become endemic in this country, particularly along the Gulf Coast. The outbreak has drawn renewed attention to the weakness of U.S. public health efforts and criticism of Congress' failure to approve funding to combat Zika. Experts say Zika offers the latest evidence that the mosquito threat will grow as Earth's climate warms and the insect's habitat expands.

Zika's Challenges

Debate continues in Congress over funding to fight the latest mosquito-borne disease.

Local Response

Local and state officials seek to ramp up efforts to bolster public health services and keep mosquitoes at bay.

1940s–1970sEfforts to wipe out mosquitoes result in environmental damage.
1990s–2000sMalaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses re-emerge as major concerns.
2010–PresentZika and other mosquito-borne diseases become prevalent in the Americas.

Should genetically modified mosquitoes be used to fight disease?


Nina Fedoroff
Professor Emeritus of Biology, Penn State University.


Jaydee Hanson
Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Food Safety.
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