Special Zika Virus Newsletter - December 16, 2016

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


December 16, 2016

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



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

HAN: CDC Guidance for Travel and Testing of Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age for Zika Virus Infection Related to the Investigation for Local Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Transmission in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas

MMWR: Preliminary Report of Microcephaly Potentially Associated with Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy — Colombia, January–November 2016

Updated Guidance: Advice for people living in or traveling to Brownsville, Texas; Advice for people living in or traveling to South Florida

Press Release: CDC Releases Preliminary Estimates of Birth Defects Following Zika Virus Infection in Pregnancy; Study Finds Zika Virus Replicates and Persists in Fetal Brains and Placentas

Media Statement: CDC Issues Zika Virus Guidance for Brownsville, Texas; CDC updates Zika guidance for South Miami Beach (FL) area; Evidence that Microcephaly Risk is Highest among Pregnant Women Infected Early in Pregnancy

New Information: Zika Pregnancy and Birth Defects Local Health Department Field Support

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 emergencypartners@cdc.gov.

Advice for people living in or traveling to Brownsville, Texas

map of Brownsville, TX

Guidance for travelers and residents of Brownsville, Texas

On December 14, 2016, CDC issued Zika-related guidance for people living in or traveling to Brownsville, Cameron County, TX. On November 28, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported the state’s first case of local mosquito-borne Zika virus infection in Brownsville. Additional cases of mosquito-borne Zika have been identified in the area, suggesting that there is a risk of continued spread of Zika virus in Brownsville. As a result, CDC has designated Brownsville as a Zika cautionary area (yellow area).

Click the image to see guidance for Zika cautionary areas.

CDC Releases Preliminary Estimates of Birth Defects Following Zika Virus Infection in Pregnancy

Xrays of baby heads with birth defects

JAMA: Birth Defects Among Fetuses and Infants of US Women With Evidence of Possible Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy

Screening pregnant women for Zika virus exposure is very important. Among pregnant women infected with Zika in the first trimester, 11% reported having fetuses or infants with birth defects.

Click the image to read more on this study and to better understand the risks associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

pregnant woman holding stomach

Washington Post: Birth defects are common for Zika-infected pregnant women in the US

CDC estimates about 6% of fetuses or infants whose mothers were infected with Zika virus at some point during pregnancy had birth defects.

Click the image to learn more about the recent studies released on Zika virus. 

CDC Year in Review: Working 24/7/365

pregnant woman holding insect repellant

CDC's Response to Zika

CDC worked around the clock to keep Americans safe by stopping disease at home and around the world in 2016. Early in the year, CDC hit the ground running when the Zika outbreak intensified. Advanced molecular detection allowed CDC to develop a faster test to identify the devastating disease. As of November 2016, more than 2,000 CDC personnel had been involved in the Zika response. Nearly 1,000 of them deployed to areas in the continental United States, US territories, and around the world.

Click the image to learn more about CDC's role in fighting Zika.

What do you know about Bti?

What is Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti) bacteria?

Killing larvae reduces mosquito populations and may reduce the risk of getting infected with Zika, dengue, chikungunya, or other viruses spread by mosquitoes. Bti bacteria are found in soil. Bti is used as a larvicide to kill larvae before they can grow into adults that can bite people. Bti has been used for mosquito control for more than 30 years.

During an outbreak, local government departments and mosquito control districts take the lead for large-scale mosquito control activities to immediately kill larvae. Depending on the size of the outbreak, larvicides may be applied using handheld sprayers, trucks, or airplanes.

How does Bti work?

When eaten by mosquito larvae, blackflies, and fungus gnats, Bti produces toxins that kill these insects. Bti comes in many forms, including tablets, briquettes, pellets, granules, or liquid. It can be added to standing water and to containers that cannot be emptied out or turned over every week, such as rain barrels, fountains, ornamental ponds, septic tanks, and pools that are not in use. Bti is not harmful to people, honeybees, animals, and the environment when used as directed.

Click the image to learn more about Bti and its uses.

Bti Tablet




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, a service of the nonprofit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). MotherToBaby 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

December 12–16

What CDC is doing

Fighting Zika 24/7

Click the image to see how CDC works around the clock to respond to Zika outbreaks.

December 19–23

Picture of a family

Travel Smart this Holiday Season

Click the image to see how to practice Zika prevention before, during, and after traveling for the holidays.

cerc corner

Communication Tips: Managing Misinformation in the Media

The media have a good record of getting facts correct during a crisis, but occasionally they get their information wrong. Unfortunately, these mistakes may be harmful to the public or undermine your organization’s credibility. While media rumors, myths, and errors in press reports are usually self-correcting, sometimes the correction doesn’t happen fast enough. The following steps can help speed up corrections:

1.   Remain calm.

Remember that you are representing your agency or organization. Reacting negatively will reflect poorly on your organization and detract from your mission of communicating accurate health information to the public.

2.   Analyze the situation.

Take time to reflect on the following questions:

  • What is your relationship with the reporter and media outlet?
  • Did the news report attempt to express both sides of the issue?
  • Was there truly an inaccuracy, or did the reporter simply present the facts with a negative slant?
  • Is the news report true even though it may be negative?

3.   Know what to request.

Decide on your options to resolve the misinformation, and consider your ideal and minimal solutions. Potential options include:

  • Ask for a retraction or correction, and that a correction note be placed in the permanent record.
  • Ask for another piece to air that presents your perspective on the issue.
  • Ask that a letter to the editor or guest editorial be printed.

4.   Know whom to contact.

Follow the chain of command when contacting the media to respond to an article or broadcast piece. Talk to the reporter first. If the reporter can’t be convinced, ask to speak with the news editor or producer. If all else fails, consider reaching out to another media outlet or alternative channels, such as the web or a public forum, to set the record straight.

5.   Know what you want to communicate.

When you decide to counter misinformation, focus on promoting positive health messages to the public.

6.   Have a plan before you need it.

Build relationships with the media at every opportunity, and let them know that you are a potential source for information in the future.

Like you, reporters have a job to do. Providing the media with regular, reliable information can help them and your organization, too. After all, media outlets are an important link for sharing public health communications.

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, email cercrequest@cdc.gov. Your stories may appear in future CERC Corners.

Online Resources

Infographic about protecting children in areas with Zika

Contact Us

Email: EmergencyPartners@cdc.gov

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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