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 ((Current Events))

Zika Virus Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first documented US case of the Zika virus through sexual intercourse.  Dallas health officials reported Tuesday that a local resident was infected with the Zika virus by having sexual intercourse with a person who had contracted the disease while traveling in Venezuela.  As a result, the CDC now recommends the use of condoms to prevent the spread of the virus; more guidance that is definitive is expected over the next several days.  


In addition, the American Red Cross is requesting prospective blood donors to wait at least 28 days if they have travelled in Zika “outbreak” zones including Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.  On Feb 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  As such, the WHO views the current situation as “potentially requiring a coordinated international response.”  The declaration suggests a serious, unusual or unexpected event; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national borders; and may require immediate international action.


Zika virus is transmitted primarily to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  Hence, mosquito control and bite prevention remains the best methods for minimizing viral spread.


See also:

ANA Nurse Insider:   and



Questions or concerns:

Zika Virus

The World Health Organization expects the Zika Virus to eventually spread to all of the Americas except for Canada and Chile, the two places where the Aedes species mosquito--a vector for the virus--does not live.  Zika viral infection is asymptomatic in up to 80% of exposures or causes mild illness, such as fever, rash, muscle/joint pain and conjunctivitis.  Severe disease and fatalities are rare.  Health authorities, however, are becoming increasingly alarmed by the virus’ association with more severe clinical manifestations, including neurological and autoimmune-like illness, particularly Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and congenital neurological malformations.  Most disconcerting is a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly. 

  In 2016, Zika virus disease became a nationally notifiable condition.  On January 26, 2016, the Center for Disease Control distributed the Interim Guidelines for the Evaluation and Testing of Infants with Possible Congenital Zika Virus Infection.  In addition, the CDC has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Samoa & Cape Verde.

  Perinatal, in utero and possible sexual and transfusion transmission events have been reported.  Zika viral RNA has been identified in asymptomatic blood donors.  Other than universal precautions, no specific extraordinary countermeasures have been advised.  No vaccine exists for the Zika virus.  Mosquito protection and eradication remain the best defense for minimizing viral spread.


See also ANA Nurse Insider:

CDC Website:

CDC Interim Guidelines:

Protection against mosquitoes:

Mosquito Control Tips:











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