Zika Virus Shakes A Troubled Puerto Rico

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With guest host Jane Clayson.

A quarter of Puerto Rico’s population could be infected with Zika by the end of the year. What does that mean for the continental US?

 In this May 23, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito sits inside a glass tube at the Fiocruz institute. (Felipe Dana / AP)
In this May 23, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito sits inside a glass tube at the Fiocruz institute. (Felipe Dana / AP)

Puerto Rico is ground zero in the U.S. fight against Zika. The CDC says a quarter of its population could be infected with the virus by the end of the year. But Puerto Rico is broke. Prevention is expensive. Congressional funding has yet to be passed. And Zika is creeping north. The mosquito that can carry it has been found all over the Gulf Coast and beyond. This hour On Point, the frontline of the U.S. battle against Zika – Puerto Rico. — Jane Clayson


Betsy McKay, senior writer covering global health for The Wall Street Journal. (@betswrites)

Dr. Johnny Rullan, former health secretary of Puerto Rico and now a Zika epidemic advisor to the governor of Puerto Rico. (@johnnyrullanmd)

Greg Lanzaro, professor and researcher in pathology, microbiology and immunology at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Frank Welch, medical director of the Louisiana Center for Community Preparedness.

From The Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Zika Virus Swamps Embattled Puerto Rico — "Puerto Rico has been hit harder than any mainland U.S. state is likely to be, U.S. health authorities say. The Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika teems here, flourishing in the steamy climate and dense neighborhoods. It invades the many homes lacking screens and air conditioning. It incubates in unsealed septic tanks, old tires and other places where stagnant water stands."

Tampa Bay Times: Amid fears of Zika 'disaster,' Gov. Rick Scott seeks Obama's help — "Requested items include 5,000 Zika preparedness kits, money for more city and county mosquito control workers and for an outreach program, insecticides, spraying equipment, mosquito traps and personal protection equipment. Scott also asked for a report from the feds by June 15 on how the state should work with FEMA, the federal emergency management agency, on how to request federal help after the Zika virus becomes mosquito-borne in Florida and causes an outbreak that requires an immediate response."

New York Times: How Zika Became a Global Threat -- "In the United States, Puerto Rico has by far the biggest problem. They have an active outbreak and they’re entering the rainy season now. It’s very bad in Puerto Rico, plus they’re in the middle of this economic crisis. They do have a Centers for Disease Control laboratory there, so they have a little bit of extra support with things like diagnostics. But the C.D.C. doesn’t have anywhere in its mission to go out and control mosquitos, they provide advice and support to local entities that do that."

This program aired on June 15, 2016.


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