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The curious connection between plastic trash and infectious disease

Discarded, undegradable plastic trash is a global breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Photo of a mass of plastic trash floating in water.
The plastics we use and discard cause health problems around the world. | Shutterstock/Rich Carey

On this episode of Stanford Engineering's The Future of Everything podcast, Stanford infectious disease expert Desiree LaBeaud talks trash, literally.

She says carelessly discarded plastics can collect water, providing a perfect nursery to mosquitoes that then spread dengue, chikungunya, Zika, yellow fever and other killer diseases worldwide. Plastic trash has become a public health nightmare as LaBeaud tells host Russ Altman and listeners of The Future of Everything. Reducing it is now a critical component of life-saving disease prevention strategies.

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