CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - Special Zika Virus Edition - June 10, 2016

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


June 10, 2016

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

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Table of Contents

Zika Transmission

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 can't predict how much Zika virus will spread in the continental United States. 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 is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). A man with Zika virus can pass it during sex to his male or female partnersSome non-travelers in the United States have become infected with Zika through sex with someone who has traveled to an area with Zika. 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 in limited areas.

Not having sex can eliminate the chance of getting Zika from sex. Men who live in or travel to areas with Zika can avoid transmitting Zika to their partners 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 a cause of microcephaly, a severe birth defect that is a sign of a problem with brain development, and other severe fetal brain defects.

In addition to microcephaly, other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as 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. Scientists continue to study the full range of other potential health problems that Zika virus infection during pregnancy may cause.

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)

Many 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 medicine for Zika. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms.

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.


There is no vaccine for Zika. 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 and key messages.


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 at

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Men's Health Week, Father's Day, and Zika Protection Messaging

father child

Encourage men to take action to protect their partners and families from Zika if they are returning from an area with Zika. Future fathers should know that Zika can cause certain birth defects. Zika can be transmitted from a man with Zika to his sex partner, even if he does not have symptoms at the time or if his symptoms have gone away. Men should do what they can to give their baby a healthy start:

Prevent sexual transmission: If a man has traveled to an area with Zika, he should protect his pregnant partner and the health of their developing baby by using condoms every time they have sex or not having sex during the pregnancy.

Prevent mosquito bites: Take these steps for at least 3 weeks after returning from an area with Zika to help protect his family and community.

  1. Use EPA-registered insect repellent. Read the label and follow the directions.
  2. Cover his skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. For extra protection, wear permethrin treated clothing.
  3. Mosquito proof his home. Use screens on his windows and doors. Use air conditioning when available.

For more information, please see "Zika and Sex: Information for men who have recently visited areas with Zika and have pregnant partners" (Spanish) and "For Men: A Positive Zika Virus Test: What does it mean for me?" (Spanish).

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    Weekly CERC Teleconference: "Male Travelers and Social Pressures"

    CERC logo

    To address the communication concerns and needs of state, local, and territorial health communicators, as well as partner organizations, CDC is hosting a series of Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) teleconferences related to Zika issues.

    These teleconferences began on Tuesday, May 17, and are held weekly on Tuesdays from 1-2 pm (Eastern Time). Each week, a new CERC topic will be presented as it relates to Zika.

    June 14 – CERC, Zika, Male Travelers, and Social Pressures - Public health recommendations are offered in a social context.  Whether people will accept and act on public health recommendations depends on a number of factors.  Social pressures may encourage or discourage positive action.  This teleconference will explore social pressures related to new public health risks, and discuss challenges for travelers this summer. .

    Audio Conference Access Information:

    1-800-369-1662 (U.S. Callers)

    1-203-827-7082 (International Callers)

    Passcode: 3266392

    Presentation slides for this teleconference will be available on our website:  

    Please feel free to forward this announcement to your partners.

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    Resources for Parents & Children

    Parents and children can better cope with any disease outbreak when they know more about what is happening and that they can do something to help protect themselves, family, and friends. Please see "Ideas for Talking to your Child About Zika" (Spanish), "US Zika Pregnancy Registry: Fact Sheet for Parents" (Spanish), and for more resources.

    parents positive test
    kids workbook
    A page from CDC's "Ready Wrigley: Mosquitos are Bad" Workbook

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    Zika Topic of the Week: Insect Repellent

    spray zika away
    Click the image to go to the Zika Prevention site.

    Look on the homepage of to find the Zika topic of the week! To learn more about Zika prevention, click the image above or here.

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    White House Blog: "The Private Sector Is Stepping Up to Combat the Zika Virus—Congress Should Too"

    potential zika map
    Click the image to read Dr. Frieden's White House blog.

    Click the image or here to read Dr. Frieden's White House blog that urges Congress to provide funds for the Zika response.

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      Communication Tips: "Why CERC?"

      cerc corner

      Why CERC?

      The purpose of an official response to a crisis is to efficiently and effectively reduce and prevent illness, injury, and death. Using Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) principles in your communication can help counter harmful human behaviors. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true; poor communication practices, combined with harmful human behaviors, can lead to negative public health outcomes.

      Harmful human behaviors may occur individually, in a group, as part of a larger organization, or throughout a community. Some examples of such behaviors are:

      • Demands for unnecessary treatment
      • Bribery and fraud
      • Social disruption and destructiveness

      These behaviors may affect the public’s safety by slowing the speed, quality, and appropriateness of a crisis response and recovery.

      The odds of a negative public response increase when poor communication practices are added to a crisis situation. Without effective communication, people affected by a crisis are far more likely to engage in damaging behaviors:

      • Wasting of limited monetary and medical emergency response resources
      • Public mistrust or avoiding public health recommendations
      • Increased destruction, disease, and death

      Decision makers—who are often unable to collect and process new information quickly—may rely on established routines for crisis situations that are, by definition, not routine. Their communication during a crisis requires a different mindset to bring a sense of order and understanding.

      Although no response is perfect, CERC does include specific tools to improve communication effectiveness during emergencies. CERC principles can help response agencies and organizations fulfill their mission, maintain public trust, manage limited resources, and limit harm and disruption.

      For more resources and information on CERC, please see Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition or Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Pandemic Influenza, 2007.

      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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      Online Resources

      zika pregnancy

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      Stay Connected

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

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      If mosquitoes can’t find you, they can’t bite you. Keep mosquitoes that carry Zika from biting you by covering as much of your body as possible and use repellents as directed. Watch to find out how you can protect yourself from Zika.

      Facebook large

      CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to places where Zika virus is spreading. Watch this clip of CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden discussing travel concerns related to Zika during his recent appearance at the The National Press Club.

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      Watch this CDC video to know how to protect yourself, your family, & your community from #Zika.

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      48 destinations now included in CDC #Zika travel notices, including #Argentina. Read more:


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      Social Media Partner Resources

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      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

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