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CDC outlines how it'll cope with Zika outbreaks

Engadget Engadget 16/06/2016 Daniel Cooper
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published how it plans to tackle the Zika virus in the event of a domestic outbreak. While there are already cases of the virus in the US, these were contracted overseas and brought back by unwitting travelers. The agency believes, however, that certain breeds of mosquitos could spread the condition across the US, should they come into contact with a carrier. The plan outlines five stages of action, starting by simply monitoring mosquito patterns and controlling their populations as well as preparing emergency response teams.

Should a local outbreak be detected, the CDC will swoop in (if required) and assist with all aspects of damage limitation. Experts will help train local medical professionals, offer support for diagnosis and help secure supplies of clean blood. Should the situation worsen and transmission increases, officials will help spray the local area with pesticides and plan for dealing with babies born with microcephaly. Having plans in place to handle outbreaks is all the more valuable now that the CDC has confirmed the occurrence of Zika-linked birth defects in the United States. According to the Washington Post, three women delivered babies with said defects, while three more terminated their pregnancies because the infants suffered Zika-related brain damage.

Hawaii, as well as states in the south and southwest of the continental US are on higher alert as they play host to the largest mosquito populations. If there are no new infections 45 days after the initial call, teams will stand down and go back to a state of preparedness. But, as Stat explains, prevention is better than cure, and residents in certain states are being advised to dump standing water and take other general precautions.


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