NPR asked four infectious disease experts: What are your best educated guesses about the big global health stories in 2016?
Experts predicted relatively unheard-of diseases could emerge, such as the Zika virus — a mosquito-borne virus that has been reported in Brazil and French Polynesia. The virus may be linked to the rise of a serious neurological disorder among newborns. CNN just reported the first confirmed appearance of the virus in Puerto Rico on Jan 1.
Experts also predicted a potential rise in malaria cases, which rebounded in Africa during the Ebola epidemic last year as the majority of resources were dedicated to containing Ebola.
Another expert Barry predicted the reorganization of the World Health Organization would be a major story in 2016. Many criticized the organization’s response to Ebola and as a result the WHO is expected to take a more active role in early response efforts for future outbreaks.
Another expert predicted the United States will have additional outbreaks of measles as a result of parental resistance to vaccines.
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