Zika virus has taken the world by storm since arriving in the Western hemisphere in 2015. Here I list some of the quotes on the virus from the global and national experts. This is just the beginning, more will be added over time.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan

“The level of alarm is extremely high.” Jan. 28, 2016

“The committee found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus.” Feb. 1, 2016

“The rapidly evolving outbreak of Zika warns us that an old disease that slumbered for 6 decades in Africa and Asia can suddenly wake up on a new continent to cause a global health emergency.” May 23, 2016

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden

“Puerto Rico is in a very different situation from the rest of the United States. In rest of the United States, we may see clusters,” he said. But if Zika behaves the way chikungunya and dengue have, “we will not see widespread transmission.” Mar. 9, 2016

“The bottom line here is that Puerto Rico is on the front line of the battle against Zika and it is an uphill battle.  We need urgent action to minimize the risk to pregnant women.  And everyone has a role to play.” Mar 2016

“Time is of the essence.  We anticipate in the coming weeks and month we will see large increases of cases in Puerto Rico.” Mar. 2016

“It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly.  We are also launching further studies to determine whether children who have microcephaly born to mothers infected by the Zika virus is the tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. “We’ve now confirmed what mounting evidence has suggested, affirming our early guidance to pregnant women and their partners to take steps to avoid Zika infection and to health care professionals who are talking to patients every day. We are working to do everything possible to protect the American public.” Apr 2016

When asked, Has the capacity to fight mosquitoes and conduct surveillance diminished in the U.S.? Frieden responded:

“I would say it has waxed and waned. If you go back to the ’40s and ’50s, we used large amounts of DDT. It was also used agriculturally, and it’s a very controversial area, but the big problems came from agricultural use — not so much public-health use. But the mosquitoes also developed resistance. Now, for example, the mosquitoes in Puerto Rico are resistant to DDT even though it hasn’t been used there in decades. There are different approaches, and there’s a better understanding of the risks and benefits of all forms of vector control. There is no magic bullet here. We need a series of interventions.” Apr. 21, 2016

“It’s mind-boggling. This is no way to fight an epidemic. We’re basically nickeling-and-diming the response when we know that there are urgent needs that aren’t getting met.” May 21, 2016

“Imagine that you’re standing by and you see someone drowning, and you have the ability to stop them from drowning, but you can’t. Now multiply that by 1,000 or 100,000. That’s what it feels like to know how to change the course of an epidemic and not be able to do it.” May 26, 2016

“Memorial Day weekend heralds the start of mosquito season,” he said. “We have a narrow window of opportunity to scale up Zika prevention measures, and that window is closing.” May, 26, 2016

“First, it is an extraordinarily complex response.  In fact, of all the responses I have overseen, it’s probably the most complex.  We have involved almost every single part of CDC.  We’ve had more than a thousand of our staff involved.  Whether it’s mosquito control or virology or sexual transmission or obstetrics or newborn care, many, many parts of our agency are fully activated to support the response.” May 26, 2016

Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci

“I’ve made it clear that we want to put a full-court press. I’m saying, ‘Folks, this is it, all hands on deck for Zika, this is really important.’ We are rapidly pushing.” Jan. 2016

When asked about how much money NIH is going to be devoting to Zika research, Fauci said, “As you heard, as said, this is a brand new virus, so we, prior to this time, have not spent anything on Zika.  however, we do have a substantial resource commitment to the virus class, so we spend about $97 million on the flavivirus research, and when you ask how much we’re going to spend, it really depends on the kinds of requests coming in and the kinds of projects we’re pursuing. So I can’t put a number on it except to say we’ll be utilizing the grantees and grants out there for the virus and immediately supplementing them.  I imagine that this is going to require a considerable amount of resources, but right now, we’re just going to fund what comes in with the money we have, and if additional money comes in, then we’ll, I’m sure, utilize it well.” Jan. 2016

“Things like this tend not to go away,” he said. “[Cases] may go up and down, but it’s not just going to go away, so you need to start working on a vaccine now. It may be important in a year from now or six months from now, we don’t know.” Jan. 2016

“We have no idea right now how long Zika is present in semen. We need to find that out, and we need to find that out pretty quickly”. Feb. 2016

“The more and more we learn, the more you get concerned about the scope of what this virus is doing.” Apr 2016

“Well, it is likely we will have what’s called a local outbreak.When we say local, we talk not about thousands of cases, we’re talking about scores of cases, dozens of cases at the most that historically with dengue were able to be contained.” Apr 2016

“I don’t have what I need right now,” said Dr Fauci conncerning funding for his agency. He added: “When the president asked for $1.9 billion, we needed $1.9 billion.” Apr. 12, 2016

“There’s no local transmission … of the virus in the continental United States. … To tell someone not to travel within the continental United States is not true.” Apr. 18, 2016

Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat

” I think for the pregnancy numbers, we’ll get back to you later, but that is based on what has come in.  I would say that, you know, the issue of us making this nationally notifiable and laboratory testing for the lab confirmation with the PCR is just increasing, so we really do expect there to be a lot more travel-associated cases.” Jan. 2016

“Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought. And so while we absolutely hope we don’t see widespread local transmission in the continental U.S., we need the states to be ready for that.” Apr. 2016

“We also want people to know that travel to the area may lead to ‘silent’ infections or infections with symptoms, and that following infections, it’s very important to take precautions during sex not to spread the virus”. Apr. 2016

“CDC has been working 24-7 to protect pregnant women, to support the state and local health departments that are that frontline of defense, to learn as much as we can about the mosquito that can spread the virus and about the virus itself—and to work with other countries to learn what we may be seeing later in the continental U.S.” Apr. 2016

Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH

“I give [the CDC] credit for making clear and unambiguous statements about the [Zika-related] neurologic complications.” Apr. 2016

“The take-home message is you have to consider any kind of intimate contact between an infected person with Zika and a non-infected person as a potential risk situation, regardless of gender.” Apr. 2016

“The CDC doesn’t have the resources to be in every community. It’s not the national health department. That would be like asking the FBI to provide local police service.” Apr. 2016