CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - Special Zika Virus Edition - July 1, 2016

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


July 1, 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 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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Zika Topic of the Week: "Mosquito Control Awareness"

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Say Goodbye to Mosquitoes at Home!

It’s Mosquito Control Awareness Week! Did you know there are lots of ways you can control mosquitoes in and around your home?

For more information, please see "Controlling Mosquitoes at Home",  "Zika Prevention",  "Help Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika" (multiple languages available).

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Bayer Video: "Controlling Mosquitoes with Science for a Better Life"

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Click the image above or here to watch Bayer's video on how local vector control efforts can reduce the chances of mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika.

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    NY Times: "CDC and States Ponder Plans to Keep Ahead of Zika"

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    Click the image or here to read New York Times' article about CDC's continental United States and Hawaii plan.

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    Upcoming Zika Topic of the Week: "Protect Moms-To-Be From Zika!"

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    Everyone has a role to play to protect their community from viruses spread by mosquitoes, like Zika. Although Zika is spreading by mosquitoes in US territories right now, it has not been spread by mosquitoes stateside. However, the number of travelers infected with Zika who are visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase, which could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.  Act now to help protect pregnant women in their home, neighborhood, and community. Share information about Zika prevention and ways you can help protect your community and moms-to-be from viruses that spread by mosquitoes, like Zika!

    For more information, please see Zika Prevention, Zika and Pregnancy, and Zika and Sexual Transmission.

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    CDC Zika Update Podcast: "A Summary of the Zika Outbreak"

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    This podcast provides a summary of the 2016 Zika outbreak. Created: 6/30/2016 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). Click the image or here to listen.

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    Communication Tips: "Dealing with Dread"

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    Dealing with Dread

    In a crisis, people may feel fear, anxiety, or intense dread. These feelings can prevent people from receiving important information that could help them stay safe. Your goal as a communicator is not to make these feelings go away. However, using Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) principles, we can help people manage these feelings and possibly use them as motivation to act on public health recommendations.

    Fear is a natural response to catastrophe. But when people are afraid and don’t have adequate information they may react in ways that increase risk to themselves or their communities. Fear of the unknown or fear of uncertainty may be the most debilitating of the psychological responses to disaster—fear may actually prevent people from taking action.

    Fear should not be ignored; it should be acknowledged. Communicators can recognize people’s feelings by showing empathy. They may make a statement like, “we’ve never faced anything like this before in our community and it can be frightening.” Communicators might also recognize that a perceived threat can be a source of motivation. In these cases, fear may prompt people to take desired public health actions.

    Communicators can help people cope with fear by describing a realistic level of risk and recommending action messages so that affected people do not feel helpless. Regardless of the crisis, fear should always be an important communication consideration.

    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

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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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    Removing or emptying items that hold water can help control mosquitoes in and around your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like flower pots, tires, birdbaths, and buckets.

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    New Orleans has a long history of dealing with mosquitoes, and city officials understood that the best way to protect people living in and visiting their city was to be as prepared as possible for Zika. The people of New Orleans did not wait for Zika to come to them before taking action. The city developed a Zika response plan and was prepared when the first travel-related Zika case was confirmed. Read their story:

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    To help control mosquitoes in your home, install or fix window and door screens.

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    It’s Mosquito Control Awareness Week! Learn how to control mosquitoes in & around your home.


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    Social Media Partner Resources

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    Atlanta, GA 30333


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