Half of Americans Say Threats From Infectious Diseases Are Growing

Half of Americans Say Threats From Infectious Diseases Are Growing. Pew Research Center. Lee Rainie and Cary Funk. July 8, 2016.

The Zika virus has become a concern to many Americans, and its emergence fits into a broader pattern of public concern that the number of infectious disease threats to people’s health has grown in the past generation. Some 51% of adults say there are more infectious disease threats today than there were 20 years ago. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 15 pages, 379.22 KB].

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Back to the Future of Global Health Security

Back to the Future of Global Health Security. Council on Foreign Relations. Thomas J. Bollyky and Steve Davis. May 31, 2016.

To contain infectious disease outbreaks like Zika and Ebola, global health authorities must learn from past efforts to motivate the private and nonprofit sectors around problems of the poor, according to the authors. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Zika Virus in the United States and Mexico

Zika Virus in the United States and Mexico. Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Jennifer R. Herricks and Kirstin R. W. Matthews. March 4, 2016.

The Zika outbreak serves as a reminder that global health and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can affect local health. The issue brief argues that continued investments in global health and the study of emerging pathogens could yield better tools to fight infectious diseases long before they become a problem in the developed world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 6 pages, 1.05 MB].

Treatment for Dementia: Learning from Breakthroughs for other Conditions

Treatment for Dementia: Learning from Breakthroughs for other Conditions. RAND Corporation. Jirka Taylor et al. August 4, 2015.

Aiming to better understand the contexts that have contributed to breakthroughs in treatment, the report analyzes breakthroughs in four conditions of ill health and sought to identify potentially transferable lessons for the dementia context. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 154 pages, 2.2 MB].

New, Cheap, and Improved: Assessing the Promise of Reverse and Frugal Innovation to Address Noncommunicable Diseases

New, Cheap, and Improved: Assessing the Promise of Reverse and Frugal Innovation to Address Noncommunicable Diseases. Council on Foreign Relations. Thomas J. Bollyky. June 2015.

In recent years, frugal and reverse innovation have gained attention as potential strategies for increasing the quality and accessibility of health care while slowing the growth in its costs. Thomas J. Bollyky argues that the demand for these types of innovation is increasing and outlines three practical questions for policymakers seeking real investments and results. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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To Eradicate Measles, Destroy Myth About Harmful Effect of Vaccine

To Eradicate Measles, Destroy Myth About Harmful Effect of Vaccine. YaleGlobal. Paula Kavathas. February 17, 2015.

In a globalized world, contagious diseases like measles quickly hop borders. A measles outbreak started in December at California’s Disneyland, and the disease quickly spread to 17 states in the U.S. “While people do not shudder upon hearing the word ‘measles’ as they do with ‘smallpox’ or ‘Ebola,’ this does little to lessen the heartache of the thousands of parents who lose their children to measles or see their children develop pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or even go blind as a result of the disease,” notes Paula Kavathas. Yet vaccination coverage is uneven around the globe with some developing nations reporting higher coverage than advanced economies like the United States, Germany and France. Out of fear, some parents perpetuate myths that vaccinations may cause autism despite substantial research that shows otherwise. To protect all, parents should pursue vaccinations. Measles, like smallpox, could be eradicated from the planet and that would eliminate the need for that vaccine. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Ebola in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions

Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Ebola in the United States: Frequently Asked Questions. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sarah A. Lister. December 5, 2014.

Throughout 2014, an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has outpaced the efforts of health workers trying to contain it in three West African countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. (These are often referred to as “affected countries” or “countries with widespread transmission.” In mid-November, 2014, Ebola transmission also occurred for the second time in neighboring Mali. The extent of spread in Mali remains to be seen.) EVD cases have been imported to other countries, including the United States, where two nurses were infected while caring for a patient who had traveled from Liberia.

Members of Congress and the public have considered ways to prevent the entry and spread of EVD in the United States. Official recommendations have seemed to conflict at times. In part this reflects the evolution of officials’ understanding of this new threat and the scientific and technical aspects of its control. In addition, under the nation’s federalist governance structure, the federal and state governments are empowered to take measures to control communicable diseases, and have addressed some aspects of the Ebola threat in varied ways. In the United States and abroad, public concern about the spread of Ebola also may have shaped policymakers’ decisions as well.

This CRS report answers common legal and policy questions about the potential introduction and spread of EVD in the United States.

[PDF format, 20 pages, 330.13 KB].