A Note from your Doctor: Politics of the Zika Virus

Aedes_aegypti_feedingAs many of us shiver here in the Eastern United States, mosquito season seems very far away. The mosquitoes that carry it also carry Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. Zika is a disaster for pregnant women, and the latter two are bad for everyone.

Right now, they’re close to pandemic throughout most of South and Central America, and marching towards the Caribbean and onto the US. The mosquitoes themselves don’t actually have to fly here. Instead, people are infected, come home, are bitten by a local mosquito, and then the diseases are carried to other people.

If you think this is a remote issue, and not a political one, you’re wrong on both counts.

Let’s take a look at the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Emphasis mine)

Public Health is something that promotes general welfare, and needs to be defended. Think pandemic diseases are not something with which governments need to be involved? Can you spell Ebola? H1N1 (Swine flu) is currently pandemic in parts of Russia.

So what should you do? Pretty simple: this is election season. Get out and vote for people who believe in science. Things like government spending on research for vaccines and treatments. Your vote matters. And it is the people who are elected who will determine whether NIH gets funded or defunded. When it gets warm again (or if it’s warm where you live) make sure there’s no standing water on your property that could allow for mosquito breeding, but in the interim. VOTE. Work for candidates who will provide for the common defense (and I’m not talking military spending) and promote the general welfare. You can be making phone calls now for the early states, working on petition drives, and talking to your friends and family about what they’re going to do in November – not just the presidential contest but up and down the ballot.


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