Jan 26, 2016

We’ve neglected diseases like the Zika virus for too long

Brazil
by
Marilyn Parsons
,
TIME
Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Nelson Almeida, AFP/Getty Images
Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Sao Paulo University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Nelson Almeida, AFP/Getty Images

The world is faced yet again with an alarming disease for which we are woefully unprepared to combat: the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Just a few years ago, the virus was not present in the Western hemisphere. Today, there are up to 1.3 million estimated cases in Brazil, and cases have been reported in other countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, as well as in the U.S.