Regulatory Hurdles Impede Zika Control: Communities Need the Freedom to Deploy the Most Effective Tools against Dangerous Vector-Borne Diseases

Ever since the discovery that the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus can cause serious birth defects, policy makers have been trying to figure out what to do to stop the spread of this horrible virus. Rather than bank on a specific product or approach, policy makers should focus on removing regulatory hurdles that undermine the effectiveness of local vector control programs.

Local government officials are best positioned to take the lead in developing situation-specific control programs, applying various technologies as needed. Unfortunately, federal policies deny access to useful pesticides and inhibit the development of new pest-control technologies that local officials need to combat insect-transmitted diseases.

Vector control officials need freedom to access and deploy existing technologies in situation-specific applications. Lawmakers in state legislatures and in Congress should not pick which products and strategies are used. Instead, they need to ensure that vector control experts have the freedom to do their jobs, and that there is a robust free market for the development of new pesticides and other vector control technologies.

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