The Zika virus is sending a chill down the collective spine of health providers and government agencies. So far, Brazil has confirmed nearly 3,000 cases of pregnant women infected with the virus, and the disease is spreading through the Americas.

Kamran Khan says there’s a singular truth about the spread of infectious diseases: “If you start to analyze the situation when an outbreak occurs, you’re already too late.” Khan, an infectious disease physician and scientist at Toronto-based St. Michael’s Hospital, has spent his career combating the likes of Zika, Ebola, Lassa Fever and other lethal and long-simmering infectious diseases that have reared up in unexpected places and sown public panic and death.

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