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Seven Things The Government Can Do To Prevent The Spread Of The Zika Virus

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What can science and the government do to minimize the risk of future viruses like Zika? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Amy Pope, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor to President Obama, on Quora.

This is an important question! And one that the President is consistently focused on because public investment in science and medical research can help ensure the innovative solution we need is found as quickly as possible.

Regarding the Zika virus specifically, the President has directed his Administration to work aggressively and, earlier this year, asked Congress for approximately $1.9 billion in emergency funding to strengthen our ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, both at home and abroad.

These additional resources are critical to meeting this challenge head on through some key strategies specific to this virus, including:

  • Rapidly expanding mosquito control programs;
  • Accelerating vaccine research, diagnostic development, and new mosquito control methods;
  • Enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics;
  • Educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners;
  • Improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity;
  • Improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women,
  • Enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission.

And while it is imperative to respond immediately to Zika, if we want to minimize the risk of future epidemics, we need to fully implement the Global Health Security Agenda and maintain our investments in public health, medical research and access to care - both at home and around the world. Such investments are vital to protect against epidemic threats and to leverage additional resources from partners around the world.

The Global Health Security Agenda is actually worth a deep dive, so check it out here: FACT SHEET: The Global Health Security Agenda

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