Zika virus in the United States of America
The Zika virus is not locally transmitted in the United States of America. There are however several reported cases of Zika virus that were contracted outside the U.S. The virus is unlikely to become a widespread problem like the Brazil because of the higher standard of living and water and sanitation systems in the United States.
As of March 8, 2016, at least 107 cases of Zika virus were confirmed in United States of America from people returning from Zika infected areas and 157 cases from U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and US Virgin Islands. In all the cases except one, the virus was contracted overseas. According to the World Health Organization, Zika virus could spread majority of the America by end of 2016.
Florida, southern Texas and New Orleans are probably the first places in the United States that might house mosquitos carrying Zika virus. These places have in the past reported incidents of dengue and Chikungunya.
- 1 Climate
- 2 Risk factors
- 3 Efforts to tackle Zika virus
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Zika cases in U.S. States
- 5.1 U.S Territories
- 5.2 Alabama
- 5.3 Arkansas
- 5.4 California
- 5.5 Connecticut
- 5.6 Delaware
- 5.7 Florida
- 5.8 Georgia
- 5.9 Hawaii
- 5.10 Illinois
- 5.11 Indiana
- 5.12 Iowa
- 5.13 Kansas
- 5.14 Kentucky
- 5.15 Maryland
- 5.16 Massachusetts
- 5.17 Michigan
- 5.18 Mississippi
- 5.19 Missouri
- 5.20 Montana
- 5.21 Nebraska
- 5.22 North Carolina
- 5.23 New York
- 5.24 Ohio
- 5.25 Oregon
- 5.26 Pennsylvania
- 5.27 South Carolina
- 5.28 Tennessee
- 5.29 Texas
- 5.30 Utah
- 5.31 Virginia
- 5.32 Washington State
- 5.33 Washington, DC
- 5.34 American Samoa
- 6 2016
- 7 Timeline
- 8 U.S. Travel Advisory
- 9 Concerns about employee safety
- 10 Research
- 11 See Also
The warm and humid climate in the southern part of the United States is an ideal habitat for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the transmitter of Zika virus.
About 250,000 from the United States are expected to visit Brazil in 2016 for the Olympics. Travelers returning from Brazil could carry the virus back to the United States.
Efforts to tackle Zika virus
In January 2016, U.S. has decided to prohibit blood donations from people who have been infected with Zika. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to require people who have traveled to an affected country to defer giving blood.
In February 2016, American Red Cross has asked donors who have traveled to countries with Zika virus outbreak to wait at least 28 days before donating.
AABB and American Red Cross has asked blood donators to postpone donating blood by 28 days if they have travelled to any countries with a Zika outbreak.
California Cryobank, a sperm bank, said its clinics won't accept sperm donations from men who have traveled to countries with Zika outbreaks in the past month or who have had sex with someone who has traveled there within the past month. California Cryobank already asks regular donors to report any travels outside the USA or Canada. It also plans to check its records on where sperm donors have traveled over the past year to see if any have visited any Zika virus outbreak destinations.
Department of Homeland Security
On 11 February 2016, the Department of Homeland Security said that it will not direct U.S. Customs officials to add new screening measures for travelers into the United States. DHS says that enhanced public health entry screening for Zika would not be effective. Most people who have Zika virus do not show any symptoms, and therefore, the screening process would be ineffective.
- February 23, 2016: At least 92 cases of Zika virus were confirmed
- February 27, 2016: At least 147 travel-related cases in 24 states, District of Colombia and U.S. territories
- March 8, 2016: 107 cases in United States and 157 cases from the US territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and US Virgin Islands
Zika cases in U.S. States
As of 10 February 2016, there have been 52 confirmed cases of Zika virus in the United States. In all of the cases, the virus was contracted outside the United States.
|State||Travel-associated cases||Locally acquired cases|
|District of Columbia||3||0|
|State||Travel-associated cases||Locally acquired cases|
|US Virgin Islands||0||1|
Experts say that pockets of Zika virus could crop up in Alabama, but a full fledged outbreak is unlikely.
On 10 February 2016, the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed a Zika case. A person from Monroe County contracted the virus while traveling outside the U.S.
In February 2016, the first Zika virus case in an Arkansan has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The individual traveled outside the United State to a destination where Zika virus is active. The CDC said that it is a mild case. The Arkansas Department of Health said that the person is already over the symptoms and is way past the time that it would be infectious.
Main Article: Zika virus in California
California has six confirmed cases of Zika virus since 2013.
On 10 February 2016, a case of Zika virus was confirmed in Yolo County. The person contracted the virus overseas. The person is not pregnant and the Zika virus in the person is in a mild state. No travel restrictions were put on that person.
As of 11 February 2016, no cases of Zika virus in the State have been identified.
Governor Dannel Malloy met State officials to discuss Connecticut's plans and preparations to fight the Zika virus. A multi-department coordination with a road map was announced. The State plans to provide public education on how to prevent the Zika virus. Laboratory testing of pregnant woman who traveled to countries with Zika virus will be done at Federal Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and will soon be available at State Public Health Laboratory.
The first case of Zika virus in Delaware was announced on February 9, 2016. The Delaware Division of Public Health said that an adult female has contracted the virus while she was travelling. She is not pregnant.
Main Article: Zika virus in Florida
As of 12 February 2016, 20 confirmed cases of Zika is reported in seven counties of Florida. The virus was found in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Santa Rosa, Osceola and St. Johns counties. In all of the cases, the virus was contracted while traveling outside the United States. A hotline is managed by the Florida Department of Health for information on Zika virus to its residents and tourists who are planning to visit Florida.
First travel-related Zika case confirmed in Georgia
On February 3, 2016, the first travel-related Zika virus case in Georgia was confirmed by the Georgia Department of Public Health. A woman traveled to Columbia between December and the first of January where she contracted the Zika virus. The woman was not pregnant and made full recovery. Meanwhile, tests are being run on specimens from other people living in Georgia who have traveled to places where there are outbreaks of Zika virus.
Main Article: Zika virus in Hawaii
Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state of the United States of America. The Governor of Ohio has declared a state of emergency to combat mosquito-borne illnesses including Zika virus.
Illinois is a state in the midwestern region of the United States. It is the 5th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area.
Four cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Illinois. The fourth case was confirmed on 16 February 2016.
On 1 March 2016, the first Zika case in Chicago was confirmed. A Chicago hospital confirmed Zika virus in a 30-year-old woman who tested positive for the virus after returning from Colombia in January. She made full recovery.
On 9 February 2016, the first case of Zika virus was reported in Indiana. The person is non-pregnant and had traveled to Haiti. The patient did not require hospitalization.
Iowa is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States.
According to Iowa Department of Public Health officials, residents of North Iowa are in no real danger of contracting the Zika virus, unless they travel to destinations where Zika is active. The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are not established in Iowa and have not been in Iowa for the past 45 years from which the monitoring has started. The Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus mosquito, are not well-adapted to Iowa's climate. Neither adult mosquitoes nor eggs will survive an Iowa winter.
In the third week of February 2016, Iowa state health officials revealed Iowa's first case of Zika virus - a woman between the ages of 61 and 80 who recently had traveled to Central America.
On 26 February 2016, two Iowan residents who visited Caribbean or South America were tested positive for Zika virus.
On Mar 11, 2016 the first confirmed case of Zika virus in Kansas was announced by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The person contracted the virus while traveling in a destination that has Zika virus outbreak. The tests were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first case of Zika virus in Kentucky was confirmed in a man who contracted the virus while traveling in a Central American country. The case was reported on March 9, 2016. According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the man returned to Louisville and is expected to return to complete health.
Main Article: Zika virus in Maryland
Two cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Maryland. The first case was announced in Baltimore on 11 February 2016. The patient has traveled to a country in Central America where Zika virus has been active.
Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the Northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, Vermont and New Hampshire to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Massachusetts is the 15th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated with an estimated 6.8 million residents in 2015.
Three residents of Massachusetts contracted the Zika virus while traveling in Central or South America.
Health officials of Massachusetts say that it is "extraordinarily unlikely" that Zika virus will be spread in the State. However, authorities are taking precautions and monitoring the disease. The mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus Aedes Aegypti are very rare in the Massachusetts.
- David Henley - East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project
- Dr. Al DeMaria - State epidemiologist and medical director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease
Main Article: Zika virus in Michigan
As of 12 February 2016, no cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urged anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the Zika virus to contact their doctor.
Mississippi is a state located in the southern region of the United States. The State remains a low risk for Zika virus.
As of 17 February 2016, no cases of Zika virus were reported in Mississippi.
On 17 February 2016, the Department of Health of Mississippi has issued advisory of Zika virus. The health department officials urged pregnant women in the state to avoid traveling to destinations where Zika virus outbreak is present.
On 6 March 2016, the first Zika case in Missouri was confirmed. A man contracted the virus while traveling in Haiti.
Montana is a state in the Western region of the United States. Montana is ranked 4th in size, but 44th in population and 48th in population density of the 50 United States.
The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are not found in Montana.
In February 2016, a woman was diagnosed with Zika virus. The woman, who is not-pregnant, contracted the virus while she was traveling in South America.
On February 4, 2016, the first case of Zika virus in Nebraska was reported. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that two persons contracted Zika virus was reported in Douglas County and Sarpy County. Both are women, in their 20's, and have traveled to Zika virus outbreak destinations. Neither of the women was hospitalized.
As of 11 February 2016, the State of North Carolina doesn't have a mosquito monitoring program to track and combat the spread of mosquitoes in the State.
Main Article: Zika virus in New York
There have been 11 cases of Zika virus in New York, including five in New York City.
Main Article: Zika virus in Ohio
The total number of Zika cases in Ohio are 4, as on 12 February 2016. Two new cases from returning travelers were confirmed.
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Washington, on the south by California, on the east by Idaho, and on the southeast by Nevada.
Between 2014 and 2016, three residents of Oregon have had travel-related Zika cases. Only one case of Zika virus was diagnosed in 2016 in Oregon.
On 10 February 2016, the first Zika case in Oregon was confirmed. A woman was diagnosed with the virus and had contracted it when she was outside the United States. She has since then recovered.
Main Article: Zika virus in Pennsylvania
Zika virus was first detected in Pennsylvania on February 9, 2016. Two female residents of Pennsylvania contracted the virus while they were traveling in Zika outbreak destinations. Secretary of Health of Pennsylvania said that these cases would not pose a threat to the public. The two patients presented symptoms of fever and rash. The two cases are among the 21 tests from Pennsylvania that have been handled by a federal laboratory.
A student of the Lehigh University in Bethlehem has tested positive for the Zika virus. The student traveled abroad during the winter break.
As of 24 February 2016, there were no confirmed cases of Zika virus in South Carolina. However, the Aedes mosquitoes which transmit the virus can survive in South Carolina. On 24 February 2016, Senator Tim Scott questioned about Zika's possible impact during a health committee hearing in the Senate.
The first case of Zika virus in Tennessee was confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Health on 9 February 2016. The person who got the virus traveled to South America before returning to east Tennessee.
Main Article: Zika virus in Texas
The State of Texas has eight cases of Zika virus. In seven of them, the virus was contracted while traveling outside the United States. On February 2, 2016 the first case of Zika virus through sexual transmission in the United States was reported in Texas. In the case, a Dallas County resident had sexual contact with someone who acquired the Zika infection while traveling abroad.
Utah Department of Health epidemiologists confirmed the first Zika case in Utah on 1 March 2016. A child between the age of 2 and 10 years had contracted the virus in a destination known to have Zika outbreak.
- Dr. Andrew Pavia - Pediatric infectious diseases chief, University of Utah Health Care
As of 24 February 2016, two cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Virginia.
The first case of Zika virus in Virginia was confirmed on 10 February 2016. person contracted the virus traveling outside the United States.
On 24 February 2016, the second case of Zika virus in Virginia was confirmed. The patient is a 41-year-old female resident of Harrisonburg who contracted the virus in November 2015 when she was on a trip to Guatemala. She returned home on 29 November and began showing symptoms on 2 December. The patient got tested for Chikungunya which was negative. After a month, she was finally advised to go to the Rockingham Harrisonburg Health Department. Even after three months, the patient is still suffering with fatigue, joint pain and headaches.
Zika cases in Virginia
- 10 February 2016 - 1
- 24 February 2016 - 2
Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States located north of Oregon, west of Idaho, and south of the Canadian province of British Columbia on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
The first case of Zika virus in Washington State was announced on 22 February 2016. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a Mason County man is the first person in the state to be tested positive for Zika virus. The man, who is in his 20s, has visited to South Pacific recently. He got the Zika virus test done at the Thurston County hospital. The man returned to the United States a month ago. The Washington State Department of Health is advising women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant to consider delaying travel or to be especially careful in avoiding mosquito bites in Zika-affected areas.
- Dr. Scott Lindquist - State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases, Department of Health
Department of Health in Washington DC has confirmed three cases of Zika virus in the district. In a statement on February 4, 2016, the DC Department of Health said that one case is from 2015 that involves a pregnant woman who traveled to South America. The other two are 2016 cases that involved travel to South America and Central America.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. It consists of five main islands and two coral atolls.
On 15 February 2016, the department of health of American Samoa said four individuals including a pregnant woman have tested positive for Zika. Up to 205 persons in American Samoa could have contracted the Zika virus. The announcement prompted the American Samoa's Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga to declare a Zika epidemic in the territory. The declaration of epidemic means that all efforts to combat Zika virus would be put under a unified command and will be guided by federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On February 1, U.S. House members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health for briefings on the disease. They asked for information on research, testing and available dollars to ensure the U.S. is prepared. The members asked the CDC if a travel warning could have been issued sooner.
Case of Zika virus transmitted through sexual contact
See Also: Sexual transmission of Zika virus
On February 2, the first case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Texas. According to Dallas County Health and Human Services, Zika virus is likely to to have contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite. They have received the confirmation of the case in Dallas from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Till now, Zika virus was thought to be spread only through mosquito bite, so this new development of transmission by sex is an alarming development. The Dallas county department said that the infected person had sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela. The person infected did not travel to Venezuela.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the case. "CDC has confirmed through laboratory testing the first case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler in the continental United States. According to a Dallas County Health Department investigation, a person who recently traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission returned to the United States and developed Zika-like symptoms. The person later tested positive for Zika, along with their sexual partner, who had not traveled to the area."
The CDC says that the Zika virus will be in the blood of an infected person for a week. Research is going on to determine how long the virus will be in the Semen of an infected person.
On Feb 3, CDC has updated its Zika virus guidelines advising pregnant women to protect themselves if their male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area where Zika virus is circulating. The CDC advised pregnant women to "abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy".
Florida governor declares state of emergency in five Counties
On Feb 3, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in four Counties where people have been diagnosed with the Zika virus. Florida has extended state of emergency to a fifth county on Feb 4. The total number of Zika virus cases in Florida reaches 12.
Airlines allow employees to avoid Zika outbreak countries
On Feb 4, Lufthansa Airline, Delta and Carnival Cruise Line stated that they are allowing their employees to change schedules to avoid Zika outbreak countries. Delta Airlines has a standing policy to work with crew workers who have health concerns to change plans to avoid Zika virus outbreak countries. Among other countries that are allowing the flexibility to employees are United Airlines, American Airlines and Air France.
In February, stocks of US travel companies took a hit after health officials warned against pregnant moving traveling to Zika affected destinations. A leading U.S. travel-insurance provider, RoamRight, has seen orders for policies covering trips to Zika affected areas climb almost 10% since December 2015.
White House fact sheet on Zika virus
On January 8, 2016, the White House has released a fact sheet on preparing for and responding to Zika virus at home and abroad. The White House Administration said it is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to enhance ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to Zika virus both at home and abroad. The requested resources will be used for:
- rapidly expanding mosquito control programs
- accelerating vaccine research and diagnostic development
- enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics
- educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners
- improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity
- improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women
- enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission
The resources will be allocated to the following:
- Department of Health and Human Services - $1.48 billion
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - $828 million
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – $250 million
- Vaccine Research and Diagnostic Development & Procurement – $200 million
- Other HHS Response Activities – $210 million
- U.S. Agency for International Development - $335 million
- U.S. Department of State - $41 million
American soccer star Hope Solo said that she may skip the Olympic Games in Brazil because of Zika virus. In an interview on February 9, 2016, Hope Solo said that based on the current situation, if she had to make a decision, she wouldn't go to the Olympic Games. She said, she would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child.
On 11 February, the CDC has announced that two American women had miscarriages after being infected with Zika virus while traveling outside the United States. The miscarriages are the first to be linked to Zika virus. The virus was found in women's placentas.
On 12 February, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its director Dr. Tom Frieden held a hour long chat on Twitter to answer questions about Zika virus and microcephaly.
- Once people have been infected with Zika virus, they are likely to be protected from future infections.
- Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, but mosquito bites remain the primary way Zika is transmitted.
- We do not know if a woman can transmit Zika virus to her sex partners.
- Men: after traveling to an area w/ Zika, consider using condoms to protect your sex partners.
- We expect Zika to clear the blood in about a week. CDC is researching how long the virus is in other body fluids.
- Zika virus is present in semen longer than in blood, but we don't know for how long.
- We don't know if Zika is linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome
- CDC collaborating w/ Brazil health officials to determine if having Zika means more likely you will get GBS.
- Zika is spread primarily through infected Aedes mosquitoes. CDC is investigating other routes of transmission.
- The virus has not been found in mosquitoes in the U.S. But Aedes mosquitoes live in parts of Southern U.S.
- More lab testing and other studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika infection during pregnancy.
A new case of Zika virus was confirmed at the Broward County in Florida on the weekend of 15 February. The total number of cases reach 21.
FDA recommends delay blood donations
On 16 February, the Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance deferring bloods donations from people who are suspected to have Zika virus in order to protect the U.S. blood supply. It recommended delays for blood donation from people who are deemed at risk of having the Zika virus. Among those who are deemed at risk for having Zika are the people who have returned from countries in the past four weeks, where the virus is active. It is worth noting that there have been no cases of Zika virus spreading through blood transfusions in the United States so far.
Federal and international health officials trade notes
Leading scientists and researchers met at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington at the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to discuss the Zika virus. They traded notes and identified priorities in research and response should an outbreak in the United States should occur. However, many unknowns about the Zika still remained after the meeting. Some of the questions to which the researchers are not sure are:
- what animals other than humans can be infected with the Zika virus
- how often it has been spread by sexual contact
- whether, for sure, it’s the cause of devastating birth defects and other neurological disorders, as suspected
- role that climate change may have had in Zika’s rapid spread through the Americas
- whether the virus has changed in some way that makes it more dangerous for humans
Obama sends official $1.9 billion request
U.S. President Barack Obama officially sent a $1.9 billion request to the Congress to combat the spread of Zika virus. He also requested the flexibility to use the left over funds to fight Ebola from 2014 to use for combating Zika. In a meeting with Governors, Barack Obama said that he hoped to work with them in guarding against outbreak of Zika virus.
Two more possible cases of Zika spread through sexual transmission
The CDC is investigating at least 14 cases where Zika virus is suspected to have spread through sexual transmission. Out of these 14 cases, two pregnant women are confirmed positive with Zika. The women do not have a history of traveling outside the U.S., but the men have recently traveled to destinations where Zika virus is active. The men, who are no longer sick, are being tested for Zika now.
Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital develops "Zika direct test", the first hospital-based rapid tests for Zika virus in the country.
On 26 November, the U.S. health authorities have described nine cases of pregnant women who contracted Zika virus. The cases were confirmed between August 2015 to February 2016. Two of them chose abortion, while a pregnant woman gave birth to a baby with microcephaly. Six of those women were tested Zika positive during their first trimester. One pregnancy is ongoing, one gave birth to a baby with microcephaly, two of the women miscarried, two elected to terminate their pregnancies. Two of the nine women were tested positive for Zika in the second trimester. One woman gave birth to a healthy baby and the other is continuing her pregnancy.
- Jan 1: A non-pregnant woman from United States Virgin Islands reports onset of fever, rash, conjunctivitis and arthralgia. The patient had not travelled in three weeks that preceded the onset of symptoms
- Jan 8: Serum sample obtained from patient tests IgM positive at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The sample was negative for dengue and chikungunya virus infections.
- Jan 22: USVI Department of Health receives laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus case.
- Jan 25: The National IHR Focal Point for the United States of America notifies PAHO/WHO of the first laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in St. Croix.
- Feb 1: Three more cases of Zika virus confirmed in Harris County, Houston. The total number of patients contracted with Zika virus in Harris County reaches 4. All three patients have recently traveled to Latin America.
- Feb 1: Three more cases of patients contracted with Zika virus confirmed in city of Houston. Total number of cases in Houston metropolitan becomes 7.
- Feb 2: The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the US reported in Texas
- Feb 3: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its Zika virus guidance for pregnant women. The CDC advises pregnant women to protect themselves if their male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area where Zika virus is circulating.
- Feb 5: First case of Zika virus in central Florida reported, making the count 14 in Florida.
- Feb 8: White House releases a fact sheet on preparing for and responding to Zika virus at home and abroad
- Feb 9: First cases of Zika virus in States of Pennsylvania and Delaware reported. In both cases, patients contracted the virus while they were travelling outside the United States
- Feb 10: Centers for Disease Control tells a House panel it had identified Zika virus in the tissue of two babies who died in Brazil from microcephaly. This is the strongest evidence of microcephaly caused by the Zika virus. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told a congressional committee that mosquito eradication is the key to combat Zika virus until a vaccine could be developed.
- Feb 11: Two women who got Zika virus while traveling outside the United States suffered miscarriages. This is the first time that miscarriages have been linked to Zika virus.
- Feb 22: President Barack Obama officially requests the Congress $1.9 billion to combat the spread of Zika virus
U.S. Travel Advisory
The United States has issued travel alerts to its citizens to take precautions while travelling to destinations that were believed to have Zika virus outbreaks. The U.S. government recommends that pregnant women consider postponing trips to places where Zika virus is active.
As many as Forty million Americans travel from the U.S. to Zika-affected areas every year.
Destinations in Latin America
Destinations in the Carribean
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on February 7, 2016, showed that 41 percent of Americans who are aware with the risks of Zika virus are less likely to take a trip to Zika virus affected destinations. 41 percent of those aware of Zika virus were less likely to travel to Puerto Rico, Mexico or South American in the next 12 months. Some 48 percent said they had not changed the likelihood of their visiting those destinations. The poll of 1,595 adults was conducted in the United States between February 1-5.
The U.S. CDC has classified Zika virus situation in Cape Verde as a Level 2 alert. It is advising travelers to Cape Verde to practice enhanced precautions.
Concerns about employee safety
As Zika virus has spread through South America, is has increased concerns of employers about their employee safety. The Caribbean, Latin and South America is home to thousands of foreign workers. Many companies are now taking a safety-first approach.
- Since mid-January 2016, Delta Air Lines has offered the option for any pilot or flight attendant to swap out a scheduled trip if traveling to areas flagged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the company, a small number of employees opted for this.
- A paper product manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark, which is based in Irving, Texas is educating its 16,000 employees in Zika affected regions about the Zika virus and how to protect themselves from contracting the virus. The company is also increasing its pest control measures.
- The United States Department of Defense is offering to relocate any pregnant family members of active-duty or civilian military personnel assigned to areas affected by the Zika virus transmission
- New York Times suggested its employees not to accept any assignment that would make them uncomfortable about their own well-being because of Zika virus. The employees need not tell their managers why they were opting out of any assignments.
- Four Boston public schools canceled field trips to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua
Main Article: Zika virus Research
U.S. drug developer NewLink Genetics Corp announced it has started a project to develop Zika treatment options.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals has partnered with GeneOne Life Science to develop a vaccine for Zika virus. The project uses Inovio's proprietary SynCon DNA-based development platform. Preclinical testing is expected to begin very soon. The human clinical trials are likely to start by the end of 2016 if immunogenicity is determined in mice.
Another organization, Intrexon, is working to create genetically modified male mosquitos. Oxitec, a subsidiary of Intrexon that was acquired last year, has been testing these modified mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. The genetically modified mosquitoes will pass a gene to their offspring which dies before they reach adulthood. This technique is expected to drastically reduce the mosquito population.