In the last couple weeks, there have been several important updates related to Zika published by national and state organizations.
Highlights of some of the latest state public health efforts:
Texas Zika Response Plan. The Zika Virus Preparedness and Response Plan has been posted to www.TexasZika.org under the Zika Response tab and describes what actions DSHS will take to successfully respond to Zika. It follows a phased approach and includes specific response activities for local transmission. The plan will continue to be practiced and improved as new information becomes available.
Campaign. Texas has boosted its Zika public outreach campaign by $500,000, making it a $2.5 million campaign that will continue through the summer and will now include grassroots outreach in addition to educational materials, advertising, radio and news media. www.TexasZika.org launched in February and continues to be the anchor for the campaign and the source of official Texas public health information about Zika. More than 50,000 people visited the site in June.
Testing. DSHS has approved testing of specimens from more than 900 patients for Zika virus by the DSHS laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other labs across the state now have the ability to test for Zika. DSHS is also working to add the more complex serologic testing for human specimens to detect Zika infection in people who may not have had symptoms. Texas also now has the capability to test mosquito specimens for Zika as warranted for identified high-risk areas.
Surveillance. Texas has had 50 cases of Zika virus disease, including one confirmed case of Zika in a pregnant woman. All are related to travel abroad to areas with active Zika transmission. In addition, there have been 28 pregnant Texas residents with laboratory evidence of Zika infection but did not meet the case definition. Texas provides this data weekly to the CDC’s Pregnancy Registry.
Pregnant Women. With its link to microcephaly, Zika poses a serious threat to unborn children. DSHS is working to educate women and families about how to protect themselves through its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and via healthcare providers. The Texas WIC program is seeking to distribute Zika prevention materials, including mosquito repellent, through its breastfeeding promotion kits. DSHS is working closely with other state agencies to emphasize precaution information to their specific audiences, such as schools, daycares and women’s health programs.
ZIKA IN THE NEWS
- Alarmed of Zika, Texas Official Seeks Nearly $30 million For Mosquito Repellent For Poor Women
- Texas Strengthens Zika Efforts as Threats Persist
- Texas Women and Doctors Nervously Await Zika
- Zika Deal in Congress Likely to Be Delayed Until After Recess
- Healthy Officials Prepare for Zika, but Local Efforts Tight
- Zika Spending Bill is Blocked by Senate Democrats Due to Planned Parenthood Exclusion
- CDC has published a Health Alert Network message as well as an MMWR article on sexual transmission of Zika Virus in the US, plus an additional MMWR article on Zika Virus Infection Among US Pregnant Travelers.
- ACOG has one published-ahead-of-print commentary on Zika and pregnancy posted on the web site for its journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology.
- March of Dimes has added information on Zika virus and pregnancy to its Pregnancy Complications page under its Health Topics web site.
- To view the CDC web site for Zika, please see: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
- To view the DSHS web site for Zika, please visit: http://www.texaszika.org/