Dr Peter Hotez is a renown tropical disease expert and when he speaks, ears perk up. He is the Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine and the President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute.
Earlier this week, Hotez had some things to say about the threat of Zika virus in the United States and believes the country is not prepared for a future possible outbreak.
In an interview with CBS News, Dr Hotez discussed the similarities between poor neighborhoods on the Gulf Coast of the US and Brazil, the epicenter of Zika, which according to some estimates has seen 1.5 million cases.
Brazil has also reported 1046 microcephaly cases potentially associated with Zika virus infection.
“If you look to see where Zika is devastating families, mothers and their unborn babies or their newborn babies throughout the Americas, it’s in the areas of extreme poverty,” Hotez told CBS News.
“If you start seeing babies with microcephaly on the Gulf Coast of the United States, it is going to be a public health crisis. It will be the public health equivalent of Katrina,” Hotez said. Dire words indeed.
This comes after news of the White House, after the president’s request for $1.9 billion in emergency funding has stalled in Congress, would be shifting funds from Ebola resources, more than $500 million.
According to the CDC, 346 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been reported from 41 states and the District of Columbia through Apr. 6. Of the 346 cases reported, 32 were pregnant women, 7 were sexually transmitted, and 1 had Guillain-Barré syndrome. No local transmission has been reported to date.
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