CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - Special Zika Virus Edition - April 8, 2016

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Emergency Partners Newsletter


April 8, 2016

Zika virus (Zika) outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories. Please share the following information with those who may find it useful.

Table of Contents

Types of Transmission

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). To date, Zika has not been spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, lab tests have confirmed Zika virus in travelers returning to the United States from areas with Zika. Zika virus can also be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partnersSome non-travelers in the United States have become infected with Zika through sex with a traveler.

With the recent outbreaks in the Americas, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. CDC is not able to predict how much Zika virus would spread in the continental United States. Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika virus. However, recent outbreaks in the continental United States of chikungunya and dengue, which are spread by the same type of mosquito, have been relatively small and limited to a small area.

Not having sex is the only way to prevent sexual transmission of Zika. Couples with men who live in or travel to areas with Zika can prevent the spread of Zika by using condoms every time they have sex, or by not having sex. To be effective, condoms must be used correctly (warning: this link contains sexually graphic images) from start to finish, every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex.

Birth Defects

Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that is a sign of a problem with brain development. CDC is investigating the link between Zika and microcephaly.

In addition to microcephaly, other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Although Zika virus has been linked with these other problems in infants, there is more to learn. Researchers are collecting data to better understand the extent of Zika virus’ impact on pregnant women and their birth outcomes.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome (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.

  • The Brazil Ministry of Health has reported an increased number of people who have been infected with Zika virus who also have GBS.
  •  GBS is very likely triggered by Zika in a small proportion of infections, much as it is after a variety of other infections.
  • CDC is investigating the link between Zika and GBS.


The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.


There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

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 (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding. 
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

To prevent others from getting sick, strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the first week of illness. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms.


The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

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


CDC welcomes suggestions and feedback. If you would like to comment on any of these announcements or send us suggestions, including suggestions for new content, please contact us as

    return to top

    Vital Signs: Zika and Pregnancy


    Click HERE or on the above infographic to learn more about Zika control strategies and the issues related to Zika and pregnancy.

    return to top

    Zika Action Plan Summit Presentations

    zika banner

    Click HERE or the banner to access presentations from the Zika Action Plan Summit on April 1, 2016.

    National Geographic Article: "As Zika Advances, Can the US Cope?"

    nat geo

    Click the photo to read the article.

    return to top

    Communication Tips

    CERC logo

    Stakeholder Communication Strategies from the Zika Action Plan Summit

    On April 1, 2016, CDC hosted the Zika Action Plan Summit (ZAP). One of the goals of this summit was to increase knowledge of crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC) principles. Communication plays a role during all stages of an event. All responding partners should plan and coordinate communication activities and messages. CDC shared the Zika Communication Planning Guide for States at the ZAP Summit. It provides resources to develop risk communication strategies for federal, state, local, and territorial response to the ongoing outbreak of Zika.

    ZAP summit participants attended breakout sessions to help them improve their Zika Action Plans. They were given the opportunity to discuss best practices with both other participants and CDC experts. Internally, strategic communication plans should increase speed and accuracy of the response, ensure adequate reporting, keep leaders and decision makers informed, and prevent duplication of efforts. Externally, communication plans keep messaging and updates coordinated. Participants were armed with CDC guidance, key messages, a digital press kit, draft press releases, a microsite, and CERC materials. They returned to their states and territories with solid plans aimed at protecting residents from Zika virus infection.

    Visit CDC’s Zika webpage for State and Local Health Departments and the website for the ZAP summit to learn more. For more information on CERC, 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.

    return to top

    Online Resources

    vital signs

    return to top

    Stay Connected

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

    Facebook large

    When a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, she can pass the virus to her fetus. Researchers are working to understand more about how Zika affects pregnant women and fetuses. Learn more in the latest CDC Vital Signs.

    Facebook large

    Zika may spread through mosquito bites to some states this spring & summer. Pregnant women should take steps to prevent mosquito bites, including covering up arms and legs and using an EPA-registered insect repellent. Learn more.

    Twitter Logo

    Here’s what you should know about #Zika and #pregnancy:  @HHSgov #VitalSigns

    Twitter Logo

    #Zika may spread to some US states this spring & summer. Learn more: #VitalSigns


    return to top

    Social Media Partner Resources

    Social Media Icons




    return to top

    Contact Us


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333


    Contact CDC-INFO

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

    email symbol



    return to top