NEWS – Scientists at the CDC have confirmed a causal link between Zika virus and microcephaly

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Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded, after careful review of existing evidence, that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. In the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC authors describe a rigorous weighing of evidence using established scientific criteria.

mosquitoZika virus disease is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquitoes. It can also be spread from mother to child, through sexual contact and through blood transfusion.  There is an abundance of helpful up to date information about Zika on the CDC website.

Some infected people will get symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes) for up to a week but most people won’t even know they are infected. Estimates are that 4 out of 5 persons infected will not show symptoms, although they will be infectious and can carry the disease to other areas that have Aedes mosquitoes or transmit it to others through sexual contact or blood transfusion.

Public health authorities throughout the region have begun reporting travel related (individuals who traveled to known area with Zika) as well as locally acquired cases of Zika (no travel to infected areas). The graphic below displays the countries that have reported cases of Zika.

Zika spread map

However, it is known that some countries in the region lack the public health infrastructure to conduct or fund testing, or may not submit results to CDC/WHO.  It is wise to consider every country that has Aedes mosquitoes as having Zika infected mosquitoes.

The Zika virus can also be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners. In known cases of sexual transmission, the men had Zika symptoms. From these cases, CDC determined that the virus can be spread when the man has symptoms, before symptoms start, and after symptoms end. The virus can stay in semen longer than in blood. There are many important unanswered questions about the sexual transmission of Zika, presented on the CDC website.

For further information about Zika transmission and blood transfusion see: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/transmission/blood-transfusion.html

There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Everyone in the region should take mosquito bite prevention actions, presented by the CDC.

Those who are pregnant, become pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, should exercise special caution. Important information for this group is available on the CDC site.

Given the patterns exhibited by similar viruses (dengue and chikungunya), there is concern that US states will begin to show locally acquired cases of Zika as spring/summer temps allow mosquito populations to expand.

Those in the region who are planning to travel to areas that have Aedes mosquitoes, or who have guests who will do so, should take care to understand the best available information on Zika.

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UPDATED: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel alert for the Caribbean for the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

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UPDATE: Use the following links to stay up to date on the latest ZIKA developments. Check these links often as the health agencies are providing frequent updates: 

USA http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ UK http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/01January/Pages/Zika-virus-your-questions-answered.aspx Europe http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/zika_virus_infection/zika-outbreak/Pages/Zika-countries-with-transmission.aspx Australia http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-zika.htm Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/phn-asp/2016/zika-eng.php World http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/

CSSN Original post follows:Sunday January 17, 2016 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel alert for people traveling to the Caribbean and other areas that have confirmed transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.nsect-Bite-During-PregnancyAnd with the virus linked to birth defects, the CDC has advised pregnant women that out of an abundance of caution, they should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.The Level 2 alert, which indicates that travelers are advised to practice enhanced precautions – follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly – a rare condition in which the brains of infants are unusually small – and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.According to Brazilian health authorities, more than 3,500 microcephaly cases were reported in Brazil between October 2015 and January 2016.  Some of the affected infants have had a severe type of microcephaly and some have died.The CDC stressed that additional studies are needed to further characterize the relationship and more studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy, but “until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant”.“Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip,” it said.“Women trying to become pregnant who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.”The advice from the CDC to travelers is that they wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants; use insect repellants; use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents); and stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.Zika-Virus-Infographic-740Zika causes a dengue-like illness, with symptoms that include fever,headache, skin rash, red eyes, and muscle ache, and it is usually mild and does not require hospitalization. Four in five people who acquire Zika infection may have no symptoms. There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.Locally acquired Zika was reported for the first time in Brazil in May 2015, and the virus has since been reported in 14 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.Read More Here: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/us-issues-travel-alert-over-zika-virus-outbreak-in-caribbean#ixzz3xYmeksqOhttp://www.caribbean360.com/news/zika-virus-what-you-need-to-know?utm_source=Caribbean360%20Newsletters&utm_campaign=7b0dc44c74-Vol_11_Issue_022_News2_2_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_350247989a-7b0dc44c74-39461897    Follow Us
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