Back to the Basics: Special Zika Virus Newsletter

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


November 4, 2016

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


To Our Subscribers,

Beginning next week, the CDC Emergency Partners Zika Virus - Special Edition Newsletter will be sent out on a bi-weekly basis. Please note this change in frequency as the newsletter will be delivered every other Friday. For more immediate information on Zika virus and to see updates, please visit


CDC Emergency Partners Team


Updated Case Count Maps for the United States: Zika Cases Reported in the United States

New JAMA Article: Characterizing the Pattern of Anomalies in Congenital Zika Syndrome for Pediatric Clinicians 

New MMWR: Preparedness for Zika Virus Disease — New York City, 2016

New Article: Cost-effectiveness of Increasing Access to Contraception during the Zika Virus Outbreak, Puerto Rico, 2016

Media Statement: CDC, Miami-Dade and Miami Beach collaborate and make progress on better understanding and stopping the Zika outbreak

Zika Info On-The-Go: Sign up to receive Zika updates for your travel destinations with CDC's new text messaging service. Text PLAN to 855-255-5606 to subscribe.

To learn more about Zika, visit CDC's homepage 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

What Do You Know About Zika?


What is Zika?

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night. Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last several days to a week.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects. A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. We encourage people who have traveled to or live in areas with Zika to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

Click the image to learn more about Zika.

Zika symptoms

What are the symptoms of Zika?

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.

See a doctor or other healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of Zika and live in or recently traveled to an area with Zika, or had sex without a condom with a person who lives in or traveled to an area with Zika.

Click the image to see more answers to your questions about Zika.

Protect Yourself From Zika

Protecting Your Pregnancy

Pregnant woman

Zika Is Linked To Birth Defects

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth. If you are pregnant and live in or traveled to an area with Zika or have a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, protect yourself from mosquito bites and do not have sex. If you have sex, use condoms the right way every time you have sex during your pregnancy.

Click the image to learn more about how pregnant women can protect themselves from Zika.

Tips for pregnant women about Zika

How Can a Pregnant Woman Find Out If She Has Zika?

If a pregnant woman gets infected with Zika from living in or traveling to an area with Zika or by having sex without a condom with a partner who lives in or travels to an area with Zika, the virus will be in her blood and urine for up to two weeks. Doctors or other healthcare providers can test small amounts of her blood and urine for Zika.

Click the image to learn more about how to protect your pregnancy from Zika.

Protecting Yourself During Sex

Condoms to protect yourself during sex

Transmission Through Sex

Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time.

It can be passed from a person with Zika before their symptoms start, while they have symptoms, and after their symptoms end.Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus but never develops symptoms.

Studies are underway to find out how long Zika stays in the semen and vaginal fluids of people who have Zika, and for how long it can be passed to sex partners. We know that Zika can remain in semen longer than in other body fluids, including vaginal fluids, urine, and blood.

Click the image to learn more about Zika and sexual transmission. 

Facts on how Zika can pass through sex

Zika Can Pass Through Sex

Protect yourself during sex, especially if you or your partner lived in or traveled to an area with Zika especially if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant.The amount of time you need to protect yourself during sex depends on whether your partner has symptoms and whether you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Click the image to learn more about protecting yourself from getting Zika through sex.

Protecting Your Family and Community


Protect Yourself and Your Family From Getting Zika

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito bites a person infected with the virus. The mosquito then becomes infected and bites another person causing them to become infected. The infected mosquitoes then bite more members of the community and infect them.

These are some of the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from Zika

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Stay in places with window and door screens
  • Wear insect repellent
  • Use a bed net
  • Use condoms or do not have sex

Click the image to learn more about Zika prevention methods.

Tips for protecting your community from Zika

Help Eliminate Mosquitoes Around Your Home

These are some of the steps you can take to get rid of mosquitoes from around your home and prevent them from laying eggs

  • Empty standing water once a week
  • Seal septic tanks
  • Mow your lawn regularly
  • Drain water from pools when not in use
  • Use larvicides to treat standing water that cannot be emptied and will not be used for drinking

 Click the image to learn more about preventing Zika as a community.

    mosquito control graphic

    Mosquito Control

    Zika virus is spread to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the day, but they can also bite at night. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

    Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Click the image to learn more about mosquito control.

    What is CDC doing to help?

    CDC in action

    CDC's Role in Response to Zika

    CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the command center for monitoring and coordinating the emergency response to Zika, bringing together CDC scientists with expertise in arboviruses like Zika, reproductive health, birth defects, developmental disabilities, and travel health. Their work includes:

    • Developing laboratory tests to diagnose Zika.
    • Conducting studies to learn more about the link between Zika and microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
    • Monitoring and reporting cases of Zika, which will help improve our understanding of how and where Zika is spreading.
    • Providing guidance to travelers and Americans living in areas with current outbreaks.
    • Surveillance for the virus in the United States, including US territories.
    • Supporting on the ground in areas with Zika.
    • Conducting a study to evaluate the persistence of Zika virus in semen and urine among male residents of the United States.

    Click the image to see what CDC is doing to help.




    Pregnant women or families who would like to speak to someone about a possible Zika virus infection or diagnosis during pregnancy and potential risks to the baby can contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby is a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) and is not affiliated with CDC.

    MotherToBaby experts are available during business hours to answer questions in English or Spanish by phone or chat:

    Zika Topic of the Week

    October 31 - November 4

    Zika Back to the Basics

    Zika: Back to the Basics

    Remember these key facts about Zika and click the image to learn how to protect yourself.

     November 7 - 11

    Holiday Travel

    Going Home for the Holidays?

    Click the image to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones while traveling to areas with Zika.

    cerc corner

    Interested in learning more about Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication?

    Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) is the application of evidence-based principles to effectively communicate during emergencies. These principles are used by public health professionals and public information officers to provide information that helps people make the best possible decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

    CDC recently hosted representatives from more than 20 different states for a CERC Train-the-Trainer course. From November 2-4, participants with basic CERC knowledge explored these concepts in more detail, learned strategies for teaching CERC principles to others, and practiced mock presentations. By preparing more people to teach CERC, CDC hopes to provide better access to this training in the future.

    During emergencies, responders work under impossible time constraints and must accept the imperfect nature of our choices. CERC materials explain how the right message at the right time can save lives. If you are interested in learning more about CERC, please access our online training options or request in-person training in your area.

    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.

    Online Resources

    How Zika Spreads Fact Sheet

    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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