Yemini child polio vaccination Mohammed Huwais/Stringer

O risco mal calculado das doenças infecciosas

NOVE IORQUE – Os líderes empresariais e os investidores à escala mundial estão imensamente atónitos relativamente a dois tipos de risco: o macroeconómico e o geopolítico. No curto prazo, isto significa uma concentração nos aumentos iminentes das taxas da Reserva Federal dos EUA e nas próximas eleições em França e na Alemanha. A longo prazo, isto significa a consciencialização de riscos estruturais como a dívida soberana elevada, as alterações demográficas e a escassez de recursos naturais. Mas existe um terceiro risco, sem dúvida mais pernicioso, à espreita sob o radar da maior parte dos decisores: as doenças infecciosas.

De acordo com Tom Frieden, antigo director dos Centros de Controlo e Prevenção de Doenças dos EUA, o mundo está perante um risco mais elevado do que nunca de ameaças globais à saúde. As pessoas viajam mais longe e com maior frequência. As cadeias de abastecimento, incluindo as de produtos alimentares e de medicamentos, estendem-se por todo o mundo. Um caso mal tratado de, por exemplo, tuberculose (TB) na Ásia ou na África pode surgir num hospital nos EUA dentro de dias.

Neste contexto, os cientistas estão preocupados com o aumento recente das epidemias de doenças como o Zika, o Ébola e a gripe aviária. Estão, além disso, alarmados com o ressurgimento de doenças potencialmente fatais, como a gripe, o VIH, a malária e a tuberculose.

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