Mosquito-Borne Disease

July 22, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 26
Can the U.S. prevent a Zika outbreak?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

A mother holds her baby, who was born with microcephaly (Getty Images/Mario Tama)
A mother in Recife, Brazil, holds her baby, who was born with microcephaly, a birth defect that can be caused by Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Health officials warn the virus could become endemic in parts of the United States. Congress this summer failed to approve funding to fight Zika. (Getty Images/Mario Tama)

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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Disease
Jun. 02, 2017  Pandemic Threat
Jul. 22, 2016  Mosquito-Borne Disease
Feb. 13, 2015  Emerging Infectious Diseases
Nov. 08, 2013  Lyme Disease
Jan. 06, 2012  Preventing Disease
Apr. 02, 2010  Breast Cancer
Sep. 12, 2008  Heart Health
Aug. 24, 2007  Fighting Superbugs
Jan. 13, 2006  Avian Flu Threat
Jun. 20, 2003  Fighting SARS
Apr. 05, 2002  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar. 09, 2001  Diabetes Epidemic
Mar. 02, 2001  Mad Cow Disease
Dec. 24, 1999  Asthma Epidemic
Aug. 05, 1983  Multiple Sclerosis
May 27, 1983  Chronic Pain: The Hidden Epidemic
Sep. 24, 1976  Influenza Control
Sep. 16, 1970  Virus Research
Mar. 14, 1956  Progress Against Polio
May 25, 1955  Degenerative Diseases
May 25, 1949  Chronic Disease
Mar. 01, 1924  The Foot and Mouth Disease
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Abortion, Contraception and Reproductive Issues
Biology and Life Sciences
Humanitarian Assistance
Infectious Diseases
Maternal and Child Health Care
Medical Research and Advocacy
Regional Political Affairs: Africa
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
Sports and Recreation
Travel and Tourism