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Zika: Contain the Crisis by Quelling the Fear

Within the health space, Zika presents the latest possibility of a crisis threatening the U.S. To date, the U.S. has confirmed at least 312 cases of Zika in-country (most contracted via travel to affected zones or through sexual transmission). The World Health Organization further estimates that Zika will infect between three to four million individuals across the Americas.

At the same time, a February 2016 survey released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center reveals the speculation already at play: 42 percent of participants said those infected by Zika were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to die. Now, more than ever, federal agencies and high-risk state and local governments have a tremendous opportunity to take control of the situation by using the facts to get ahead of public concern.

The gaffes in the U.S. government’s Ebola response resulted in a spiral of misinformation that fueled public anxiety. With an eye to Zika, public health officials and political leaders have the opportunity to retrace their steps and deliver clear information early that mobilizes the public to take preventative measures, all while dispelling the rumor mill that feeds public fear.

In an article published on O’Dwyers, I explore the elements the government will need to consider in addressing a potential Zika outbreak.

Read the full article here.

Emma Beck is an Account Executive at LEVICK and a contributing author to Tomorrow.

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