I spent the morning at the Virginia Department of Health at Zika virus briefing and roundtable discussion with US Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. I shared the table with Dr. Marissa Levine, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health and colleagues from maternal-fetal medicine and the Red Cross.
The topic was Zika virus and infectious diseases emergency preparedness. The process is complex and involves education, vector (mosquito) control, vaccine development, rapid diagnosis and case management. A common theme was the lack of dedicated, consistent funding for infectious diseases emergency preparedness in the USA.
We have FEMA for natural disasters but no equivalence for emerging infectious disease threats.
On a global scale, no coordinated, organized and well funded emergency response is available for looming threats, as summarized in this TED talk below by Bill Gates.
We are simply not prepared for the coming plague.