CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - Special Zika Virus Edition - June 17, 2016

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


June 17, 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 miscarriage, stillbirth, 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. 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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CDC Draft Interim Zika Response Plan for Continental US and Hawaii

zika plan
Click the image to access the response plan.

This week, CDC released the Draft Interim CDC Zika Response Plan (CONUS and Hawaii): Initial Response to Zika Virus Infection, dated June 2016. The plan outlines CDC’s protocol for the initial response to local transmission of Zika by mosquitoes as well as guidance on surveillance, risk communication, blood safety, vector control, and prevention messages for people who live in, work in, or travel to an area with local Zika transmission.

CDC guidance to state and local jurisdictions recommends that Zika action plans be developed and updated to guide response activities through a phased, risk-based continuum. The continuum includes support for mosquito season preparedness and then progressive action in response to detection of:

  • The first limited local transmission
  • Widespread local and continuous transmission
  • Widespread, multicounty, continuous transmission

CDC is committed to supporting state, tribal, territory, and local efforts to prepare and respond to Zika. CDC is also committed to responding to travel-associated and sexually transmitted Zika cases reported in the United States before detection of the first case of local transmission of Zika virus by a mosquito.

The response activities outlined in this plan are based on currently available knowledge about Zika virus and its transmission. CDC will continue to update these activities, in consultation with state and local health officials, as more is learned about Zika virus.

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    Zika Topic of the Week: Men's Health and Zika

    zika and men

    This Father’s Day, Help Men Protect Their Families from Zika

    Although Zika is primarily spread through mosquitoes, it can also be spread by an infected man to his female and male partners during sex, even if he does not have symptoms at the time or if his symptoms have gone away. This is especially important if his partner is pregnant, because Zika can cause serious birth defects in a developing fetus. This Father’s Day, help us spread the message that all men can take steps to protect their partners and families from Zika after returning from an area with Zika.

    For more information, please see "Zika and Sex",  "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: "Zika and Community Engagement"

    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 21 – CERC, Zika, and Community Engagement

    In public health crises the coordinated actions of community members before and during an emergency can help response organizations protect the wellbeing and health of the population.  The six foundational Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC)  principles can guide that interaction to build resilience. In this week’s Zika CERC discussion we will explore dos and donts of community engagement and how to address strong emotional reactions among community members in a reasoned and respectful way.

    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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    Zika Communication Toolkits

    The Zika Communication Toolkits page contains toolkits with tailored communication materials for various groups to use when preparing for local transmission of Zika virus in the U.S. Use the tabs to find a description of each group and a listing of communication materials.

    zika comm toolkits

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    Upcoming Zika Topic of the Week: Healthy Summer Travel

    insect repellant

    Consider the risk of Zika when making your summer vacation plans. If you are traveling to an area with Zika, be sure to follow CDC recommendations to stay healthy and safe. All travelers to areas with Zika should prevent mosquito bites. Because Zika during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika. Zika can also be spread by a man to his sex partners, so travelers should use condoms if they have sex. Learn more about Zika and travel.

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    Fact Sheet: "Stop Mosquito Bites. Don't Stop Outdoor Activites."

    stop mosquito

    Click the image or here to review the fact sheet about Zika protection during outdoor activites.

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      Communication Tips: "Using Plain Language"

      cerc corner

      Using Plain Language

      In a crisis, people take in, process, and act on information differently than they would outside of an emergency. Effective communication during a crisis should be clear; it should empower people to take actions that will reduce risks to their health and wellbeing.

      When people experience intense stress or information overload, they may miss important details in health and safety messages. During a crisis:

      • People may not fully hear information because they can’t juggle multiple facts at once.
      • People may not remember as much information as they normally could.
      • People may misinterpret action messages that are confusing.

      When public health guidance is difficult to understand or follow, people may resort to bad habits and long-held practices that could be harmful in an emergency situation. Using simple, plain language can help your messages reach the people who need to act on them.

      In a crisis, every word counts. By understanding how people take in information during a crisis, we can better plan to communicate with them using simple messaging.

      For more resources and materials on plain language, visit CDC's Plain Language site.

      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 questions

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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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      Men: Anyone concerned about sexual transmission of Zika can take steps to protect themselves and their partners. If you’ve recently traveled to an area with Zika and had symptoms of Zika, consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 6 months after symptoms started. If you haven’t had any symptoms of Zika, consider using condoms or not having sex for at least 8 weeks after returning from travel. Learn more:

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      Men: If you’ve recently traveled to an area with Zika and developed Zika symptoms during your travels or within 2 weeks after returning, you should see your healthcare provider to see if you have Zika or another illness. This is especially important if you have a pregnant partner or are considering a pregnancy. Learn more:

      Twitter Logo

      Men: If you develop #Zika symptoms during travel or within 2 wks after returning, see a healthcare provider

      Twitter Logo

      Men w/ pregnant partners: If you recently traveled to area w/ #Zika you should use condoms during her pregnancy


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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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