Zika Virus

From The Nation's HealthCDC: Zika continues to pose threat in US, Data show thousands of pregnancies have been impacted

Zika virus is primarily spread through mosquito bites. Most people infected with Zika do not show any symptoms, though about 1 in 5 experience fever, red eyes, rashes, body aches and headaches. The sickness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. In some rare cases, health researchers have found links to much more serious conditions associated with Zika.

The virus can cause microcephaly, which severely limits brain development among fetuses and newborns, and other serious birth defects. Zika is also linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition that damages the nervous system. Health experts indicate there is still much to learn about the virus, how it is spread and its health risks. 

Transmission

The virus is mostly spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. A pregnant woman can pass on the infection to her fetus during pregnancy or around birth, and a person infected with Zika can pass along the illness to his or her sex partners. There is also a strong possibility the virus can spread through blood transfusions.

Public health response

The public health response focuses on preventing transmission, supporting affected families and containing the virus to areas where it is present. Other efforts include disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis and mosquito control.

A major concern has been a lack of funding to adequately respond to Zika in the United States. As APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, said about Congress in this POLITICO article, "We shouldn’t have to continue to chase diseases that threaten us. They’re not behaving like this is a real threat to the public."  

Zika Preparedness and Response: A Public Health and Legal Perspective (webinar)

Our action alerts and advocacy letters encouraged Congress to fund a robust public health response, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association and Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan urging for emergency Zika funding. (PDF)

APHA Zika Resources
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