Special Zika Newsletter—June 13, 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.


Final Edition

This will be the final edition of the Emergency Partners Zika Virus-Special Edition Newsletter. We will continue to update our subscribers about Zika Virus through our monthly Emergency Partners Newsletter.


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




Zika and Pregnancy: Protecting Babies, Protecting Yourself


By: Margaret Honein, PhD, MPH, Chief, Birth Defects Branch, CDC Co-lead, Pregnancy and Birth Defects Task Force, CDC’s Zika response (Atlanta, Georgia)


Zika is not over. It is still a threat. The most important thing people need to know is that Zika can be prevented.

The cry of a baby with Zika-related birth defects is a sound I will never forget as I work to combat the virus. Some of these babies cry continually, inconsolably.

Learning about the difficult, uncertain future that lies ahead for a baby born with serious damage to their brain, microcephaly, or other birth defects is understandably overwhelming to many parents.

And yet this will be the reality for some of the nearly 1,800 pregnant women throughout the United States with possible recent Zika infection reported to the US Zika Pregnancy Registry. About 1 in 10 pregnant women with confirmed Zika in 2016 have had a fetus or baby with Zika-related birth defects.

As we head into warmer weather months, we expect to see an increase in mosquitoes that spread Zika in certain parts of the country and we expect to see an increase in vacation traveling. We don’t know how many people will be affected by Zika this year, but the most important thing people need to know is this: Zika can be prevented.

Read the full blog post here.

Selfie of Gilbert Ovalle

Zika Response Spotlight

Gilbert Ovalle, Zika Responder

What is your current role at CDC?

GO: "I am the section lead for CDC's Emergency Risk Communication Branch Web section."

When, where, and for how long did you deploy for the Zika response?

GO:  "I initially deployed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 29 days in March 2016. I returned to San Juan in September and stayed for 195 days. Longer deployments help ensure continuity in the fast-changing environment of a response."

What were your responsibilities during deployment?

GO: "I initially deployed to the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) to support the response as part of the Joint Information Center (JIC) but I ended up serving the first 10 days assisting the Operations Logistics Team. Next, I worked with the PRDH Web and Social Media Lead to prioritize some pressing needs for the PRDH website. We then collaborated to bring those changes about.

When I deployed the second time, I served as the Deputy JIC Lead, and later the JIC Lead. In those roles, I worked with PRDH to develop communication strategies and tactics to not only inform people about Zika, but motivate them to take action. Although we can't directly attribute the reduction in case counts in Puerto Rico to our work, I'm sure we made a difference."

What did you find most rewarding about your work in Puerto Rico?

GO: "I enjoyed collaborating with dedicated professionals from CDC, other federal agencies, and PRDH in the fight against Zika. I also gained knowledge and friendships that will be with me for many years."

In what ways did you grow professionally and personally from the experience?
GO: "It’s always the local people, the culture, the history, which impact my life the most. They provide positive and lasting experiences which I bring into my professional career and personal life."

What words of advice to you have for new responders?
GO: "In order to have a rewarding deployment please be flexible, compassionate, open-minded, and willing to attain new skills from people you never thought you would meet, much less work with. Also be prepared to get out of your regular daily routine and perform tasks you would not be asked to do at your regular job."


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Protect your partner

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.





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 or talk about Zika in English or Spanish:



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