Zika

ACSF faculty fellow and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director of conservation science Amanda Rodewald calls for a science-based approach to Zika and other global threats in her article in The Hill  

As We Respond to Zika, Don't Forget About Unintended Consequences

February 12, 2016

Zika

ACSF faculty fellow and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director of conservation science Amanda Rodewald calls for a science-based approach to Zika and other global threats in her article in The Hill 

As the Zika virus continues to spread — now to more than 20 countries throughout the Americas — so too does the pressure to act. What compels our action is clear: The Zika virus is associated with, and seems the cause of, a surging number of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies have small heads and underdeveloped brains. Strategies being considered to reduce the Zika threat include reducing populations of the primary vector of the virus, mosquitos. Although multiple techniques are available, some groups are calling for widespread reintroduction of the pesticide DDT. However, DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972 and strongly discouraged for use throughout the world in the Stockholm Convention of 2001. Advocates for DDT exemplify a common reaction to urgent human need: acting quickly without careful consideration of the long-term consequences. We are especially prone to this response in fearful situations, when human suffering is visible and pronounced.

But let's take a closer look at the potential outcomes of this narrow and shortsighted approach to the Zika virus . . . Read more