Local and state health departments have the legal authority and responsibility to ensure and protect the health and safety of their residents. As communities around the country are responding to the any number of infectious disease threats and outbreaks, our members know not only how to stop the spread of the disease but also how to prevent it in the first place.
The Coalition's Work
City health departments play an essential role in stopping the spread of infectious disease, as the United States has seen with outbreaks in the Zika Virus, the Ebola virus, and measles. Strengthening cities' ability to respond to diseases that spread more rapidly than ever due to more frequent travel and increased exposure, is especially important now. Adequate funding must be allocated to local and state agencies in order to create and maintain systems that effectively prevent and contain outbreaks. Routinely cutting public health funding is an annual affair, and relying on emergency preparedness dollars once a crisis strikes is inefficient and leads to undue suffering.
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The View from Boston: As the World Gathers in Rio, It’s Time for All of Us to See Zika as a Global Outbreak
By Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission
With the Olympics in Rio, a high-risk area for Zika infection, people around the world are thinking about taking precautions. While the games are occurring during the winter months in Brazil, when the risk of mosquito-borne diseases is lower, much of the buzz around the Zika virus has been focused on Rio, where the disease is transmitted locally because the main vector, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, is plentiful. Although the disease burden is heaviest in hotter, climates, residents of Northern cities like Boston are not immune from this virus and have a role in stopping its spread.