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$1.9 billion for Zika? (The Billings Gazette, Feb. 22). Adjusting to climate change is expensive.

We are having to adjust to a changing climate with emerging infectious diseases such as Zika.

A case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Montana, and there are reported to be nine pregnant women in the U.S. confirmed to have Zika virus (The Billings Gazette, Feb 26). Since early this month, pregnant women have been told to restrict their travel plans to avoid countries with Zika.

Changing temperature, precipitation, and humidity influence the habitats of the vectors for infectious diseases (such as Aedes aegypti mosquito for Zika). Currently, health professionals join with climate change scientists to inform and protect us from emerging infectious diseases.

Public health science and practice has made a huge difference in the health status in the U.S.

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We can do more to than just adjust to new diseases; we need to act to protect ourselves and our families.

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It is a public health mandate to decrease the carbon pollution in our atmosphere that is contributing to climate disruption and changing disease patterns. Our members of Congress need to hear from us that we want action on carbon emissions. The non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org) is one group who is active, optimistic, realistic and respectful of all. We can all play our part in taking a stand for health.

Kathleen B. Masis, M.D.

Billings

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