Zika and Neglected Infectious Diseases

Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the agency's frontline public health officers who respond to emergencies, like Zika virus.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded travel alerts for Zika Virus to 28 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency. In Brazil, the country hardest hit, authorities have reported nearly 4000 new cases of the birth defect microcephaly, according to the BBC. The outbreak is blamed on Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitos and through sexual contact. 

When outbreaks like Zika occur, the CDC sends disease detectives to affected areas. Officials with the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service investigate, research, and do surveillance. They track the first appearance of an infectious disease. “Emerging diseases in people are often tracked back to animals,” says Jennifer McQuiston, CDC disease detective. A discussion about outbreak investigations was part of Spotlight Health in 2014. Watch the session. Featured speakers: Tom Frieden, McQuiston, and Neil Vora.

In summer 2016, Spotlight Health will delve into the topic of neglected infectious diseases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will cover the topic. Learn more about Spotlight Health programming here.


Podcast: Prison Reform

On the heels of President Obama's pledge to end solitary confinement for juveniles and low-level offenders, we catch up with former prisoner Shaka Senghor. He was on an Aspen Ideas panel discussing overpopulated prisons. Senghor advocates for prison reform in his role as strategy director for #cut50. Listen to the episode and subscribe to Aspen Ideas to Go on iTunes or other podcasting services.


Discover More on iTunes U

What are the prospects for democracy around the world today? Join key experts to examine the rise of extremism, constraints on representative government and new forms of authoritarianism. You’ll find other collections from the Festival at iTunes U such as The Beauty of Mathematics and our most popular collection What is Happiness? Find more collections here.