CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - Special Zika Virus Edition - February 12, 2016

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


February 12, 2016

Zika virus infection (Zika) is spreading in multiple countries. Please share the following information with those who may find it useful.

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. Once the virus is in a person, it can spread through blood transfusion, sexual contact, and from mother to child. Zika is not currently found in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). About 80% of people with Zika experience no symptoms and don’t even know that they have the virus. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

Recently, there have been reports of microcephaly in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that haven't properly developed.

More cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have also been reported. GBS is an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and, sometimes, paralysis. CDC studying if Zika infection is possibly related to GBS and microcephaly.  Currently, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.

The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Use insect repellents on your skin and clothes.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pant
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.

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There is evidence that the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted by a man to his sex partners. The best way to prevent the spread of Zika through sex is to avoid sex or use condoms the right way every time, especially when having sex with someone who has recently traveled to a country where Zika is present.

There is no vaccine to prevent or treat Zika infection.

The following steps can reduce the symptoms of Zika:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain. 
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

To learn more, please visit CDC's Zika virus page.

Table of Contents


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Online Resources

Aedes aegepti mosquito

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Zika Twitter Chat

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Join CDC Disease Detectives for a special Zika Twitter chat this Friday, February 12, from 11:00AM to 12:00PM ET. Follow @CDCgov on Twitter, and use the hashtag #CDCchat to participate

Communication Tips

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Crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC) principles can be used for a range of crises, including those caused by infectious diseases like Zika virus. Immediate and credible guidance can teach people to identify risks and protect themselves from illness.

For more information, please visit our CERC website and refer to Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition.

Have you used CERC in your work? To share your CERC stories, e-mail Your stories may appear in future CERC Corners.

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Social Media Partner Resources

These social media messages are available so that you can share on your organization's social media accounts.

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New, unfamiliar and mysterious threats to our health are scary. CDC works around the clock to protect Americans. Learn what they are doing about the Zika virus in this CNN post from CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

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CDC has issued new interim guidance on preventing sexual transmission of #Zika virus: .

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CDC recommends pregnant travelers consider postponing travel to areas w/ ongoing Zika transmission:

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The best way to avoid #Zika is to prevent mosquito bites.


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Stay Connected

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Contact Us


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Atlanta, GA 30333


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800-CDC-INFO    (800-232-4636)    TTY: 888-232-6348

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