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CDC's Emergency Partners newsletter provides updates, resources, and useful tips to subscribers interested in emergency preparedness and CDC's emergency responses.
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See below and visit CDC's Zika website for the most current updates and information about Zika virus.
Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.
Zika can be transmitted through mosquito bites, from a pregnant woman to her fetus, through sex, and through blood transfusion (very likely, but not confirmed). Zika is usually a mild sickness (fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes) that lasts about a week, however many people have no symptoms. Pregnant women and women who might become pregnant should be careful not to get Zika because Zika can cause birth defects.
Click the image (above) or here to learn more about the history of Zika
Video: Zika 101
Click the image (left) or here to learn more about the history of Zika and how to protect yourself and your community.
Zika Virus: Protecting Pregnant Women and Babies
Zika is a serious health threat to pregnant women and their babies in the US:
- Nearly 1,300 cases of pregnant women with evidence of possible Zika were included in the US Zika Pregnancy Registry in 2016. Most cases were travel-associated. Of that total, 250 were reported as having confirmed Zika infection.
- About 1 in 10 pregnant women with confirmed Zika had a fetus or baby with birth defects.
- About 15% of babies whose mothers were infected in the first trimester have Zika-related birth defects.
- Babies may appear healthy at birth but still have birth defects or other Zika-related health problems.
Pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika
Zika infection during pregnany can cause microcephaly in developing fetuses and serious damage to the brain. It can also lead to congenital Zika syndrome in babies, a pattern of birth defects that includes brain abnormalities, vision problems, hearing loss, and limb defects. If you are considering getting pregnant and you or your partner have recently traveled to an area with Zika, wait to get pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how long you should wait to conceive.
Click the image (above) or here to learn more about how protecting pregnant women and babies from Zika.
CDC Vital Signs Video
Pregnant women can protect their babies from Zika-related health conditions by not traveling to areas with Zika. Men and women who live in or travel to an area with Zika can prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites, using condoms during sex, or not having sex. Healthcare providers can encourage pregnant women to follow CDC’s Zika prevention recommendations and help affected babies by providing screening and follow-up care.
Parents can help babies who are exposed to Zika during pregnancy by taking the following steps:
- Getting the recommended screenings and follow-up care.
- Working with their healthcare providers to create a coordinated care plan.
- Monitoring their baby's development using CDC's milestone checklists.
- Contacting early intervention services in their community to find out if their baby is eligible for services that can help.
Click the image (above) or here to learn how pregnant women can protect themselves and their babies from Zika.
Local Health Department Field Support
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is soliciting applications from local health departments for supplemental field support in communities with pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection. The purpose of field support is to assist local health department capacity to:
- Collect and report accurate, timely, and complete data on pregnancies and infants with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection and infant outcomes, as well as fetuses and infants with specific birth defects with and without Zika virus exposure.
- Help pregnant women, children, and families affected by Zika receive the services they need.
State and local public health agencies can:
Test for Zika virus or work with CDC’s Arbovirus Diagnostic Laboratory to test for Zika virus when indicated.
Report laboratory-confirmed cases to CDC through ArboNET, the national surveillance system for arboviral disease.
Participate in the US Zika Pregnancy Registry.
Activate or enhance mosquito surveillance and control activities.
Implement strategies to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).
Use CDC's CERC Corner tips to improve the clarity of your public health messages.
How Will People Judge Your Emergency Messages?
Before taking any recommendations, people want detailed explanations, strong
reasons, and second opinions from people they trust. During an emergency, audiences
judge messages much quicker. People must decide who to listen to, what to
believe, and how to act without much time to weigh other options. It’s up to us,
as communicators, to help people receive and correctly interpret our messages and
accept our advice.
Audiences will consider your messages based on:
communication: People tend to trust
the first thing they hear. Being among the first to communicate in an emergency
can help your organization appear to be prepared, and may also make your
message more believable.
content: People expect messages to
contain accurate information and specific actions they can take. Recommended
actions should be backed by facts and explained in relevant detail. Your
organization should aim to get the facts right, repeat them often, and work
with other credible sources to share them consistently.
credibility: In addition to speed and accuracy, your message
should be credible. Your organization can demonstrate credibility by bringing
your expertise, commitment, and honesty to communications in an emergency. Expressing
empathy can help as well. You should put into words the emotions your audience
is feeling at the beginning of your message so that they know you understand
Understanding how audiences evaluate information in
an emergency can help you adapt your messages to better meet audience needs. Ideally,
you want to promote action and encourage people to adopt behaviors that will
protect themselves and their communities. If your organization is able to communicate effectively,
your audience will know your public health advice is worth following.
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 email@example.com. Your stories may appear in future CERC Corners.
MOTHER TO BABY
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 talk about Zika: