Just last week, the World Health Organization last week announced that the Zika virus was “spreading explosively.” Today, it declared Zika “a public health emergency of international concern.” The political pressures on the WHO to take this action have been strong. The shadow of Ebola also looms large, and the WHO seems, perhaps understandably, motivated by the worldwide conclusion that it was ineffective in responding to the Ebola epidemic in 2014, waiting to designate that disease as an “emergency” until it was far too late for this designation to matter. It did not want to make this mistake again. The problem is that Zika is not Ebola, or anything like Ebola, and declaring Zika an emergency will simply stoke fear, and even panic, in a public that deserves to have public health decisions made on the basis of facts and science, rather than on politics and fear.
Read full article at The Boston Globe.