Special Zika Newsletter—May16, 2017

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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.

Don't keep this great resource to yourself! Please share it with your colleagues and networks. If you would like more information on Emergency Preparedness and Response, visit CDC's Emergency Preparedness & Response website.



See below and visit CDC's Zika website for the most current updates and information about Zika virus.



New Resource - Toolkit for Investigating Possible Local Mosquito-Borne Transmission of Zika Virus

Portion of algorithm for investigating transmission


CDC has developed a toolkit to provide resources for investigating possible local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission. This toolkit is for state and local health department epidemiologists, communication specialists, laboratory professionals, and other public health officials. The protocol and forms can be modified according to the specific needs of each jurisdiction.


Twitter chat announcement

Miss the May 3 Twitter Chat? Look for #ZapZika

Even if you missed the Twitter Chat on May 3, you can read the questions and answers on Twitter. Click here or look for #ZapZika on Twitter.



CDC Zika Topic of the Week

Woman talking to doctor

Protect Your Pregnancy
Pregnant women can take steps to protect their pregnancy from Zika by preventing mosquito bites, avoiding travel to areas with risk of Zika, and using condoms during sex with a partner that lives in or traveled to an area with risk of Zika.

Please share or retweet messages posted on CDC social media channels to make this helpful information available to your followers. You can also download the Zika Topic of the Week Widget for your website in English and Spanish.
• English: http://www.cdc.gov/widgets/zika/index.html
• Spanish: http://www.cdc.gov/widgets/zikaspanish/index.html




Use CDC's CERC Corner tips to improve the clarity of your public health messages.

Communication Mistakes to Avoid

CDC’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) program is built around six main principles: be first, be right, be credible, promote action, express empathy, and show respect.  But under the time pressure and urgency of an emergency, progress towards building credibility and getting people to accept and adopt protective health behaviors can be undone in an instant by simple mistakes.  Here are some common pitfalls communicators need to avoid.

Mixed messages from multiple experts
Make sure that any communication, including any spokesperson interviews or presentations, use the same set of key messages.  Work with your partner agencies to make sure you are saying the same thing in the same way.  Mixed messages reduce credibility, raise uncertainty, and can lead to potentially dangerous misunderstandings of what actions to take.

Information released late
People will trust you to always be open with you if you provide information as soon as it is confirmed.  If they hear about an event or update from another source before the responsible agency, they may feel that you are withholding information from them.  Also when someone else releases the information that your agency is responsible for, they may not have all of the right facts and this can lead to more uncertainty and speculation.

Paternalistic attitudes
An agency or agency spokesperson cannot claim to know what is best for an individual and people do not want to be told what to do, especially without explanation. Give people the information they need and options to make the best decision for themselves.

Not countering rumors and myths in real-time
Neglecting to address rumors and misinformation can organization’s reputation and credibility and lead people to take unsafe actions. A lot of rumors and myths during emergencies now appear on social media, and your agency has the opportunity to respond in real-time to anything that is believable enough to gather a following and could harm human health.  

Simple communication mistakes during an emergency can cause unnecessary to the public and cost your organization its credibility. As public health communicators, we want to provide timely, accurate, and life-saving information, so people can make the best decisions to protect themselves and their families.

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






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:



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