New England Journal of Medicine
October 19, 2017 Vol. 377 No. 16
A Devastating Delay — Zika and the Implementation Gap
Stephanie R. Morain, Ph.D., M.P.H., Susan H. Wootton, M.D., and Catherine Eppes, M.D., M.P.H.
N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1505-1507 October 19, 2017 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1707273
The epidemic of Zika in the Americas and the virus’s effects on fetal development have jolted the U.S. medical community and the broader public. Zika’s relatively recent emergence has necessitated rapid research on its virology and pathogenesis, transmission, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. The medical community has risen to this challenge admirably. Though a PubMed search for articles about Zika published before the 2015 outbreak in Brazil yielded fewer than 110 results, a similar search in July 2017 yielded more than 3000. The National Institutes of Health has identified several high-priority areas of Zika research, and at least 15 related trials are actively enrolling participants, including several vaccine clinical trials.
Developing knowledge to guide prevention and clinical management of Zika virus disease is critical, and these efforts should continue. However, this focus on knowledge acquisition has overshadowed another critical need — namely, ensuring that new knowledge is disseminated to frontline providers and used to improve care…