- Officials leading a Zika Action Plan Summit last Friday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta urged local and state agencies to prepare now for the expected spread of Zika as mosquito season hits the U.S.
- CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden noted major hurdles to prevention include funding as well as getting people mobilized in mosquito control before there is a U.S. crisis.
- However, delay could have a high price of its own if we start to see large numbers of infants being born with Zika-related conditions including microcephaly, noted Amy Pope, a White House deputy homeland security advisor.
The summit aimed to set state and local agencies on course to create their own plans to bring back home, Frieden told the attendees. One of the main points was CDC's recommendation to all states to appoint a Zika coordinator, if they had not already done so.
Discussion included efforts to monitor the spread of the virus and to control mosquitos, which require coordinated efforts between disparate partners, ranging from sanitation workers, to virologists, to obstetricians, to mothers’ groups, they said.
“This is gonna take a whole community response, with partners that we might not traditionally work with, but they need to be at the table,” STAT quoted Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS.
Zika has been observed to have spread in U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but has not yet been seen in the 50 states. Experts say Texas, Hawaii, and Florida are considered most at risk, but but that transmission could occur in more states.
Meanwhile, researchers from Purdue University and the National Institutes of Health say they have identified the structure of the Zika virus, which lays the groundwork for further study, treatment and prevention efforts.