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February 2016
Zika Virus: IDSA Weighs In
On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus to be an international public health emergency, which now invests WHO with enhanced authority to focus high-level attention and mobilize resources internationally.  IDSA is monitoring the outbreak, relaying guidance to clinicians, and providing input to the media and policymakers.
The first local transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the Western Hemisphere was reported by WHO last spring with locally acquired cases identified in Brazil. As of Feb. 1, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 25 countries or territories in the Americas have reported local transmission of the virus. Prior to last spring, Zika had been reported in Africa, Asia and islands in the Pacific. While local transmission has not been documented in the United States, infections have been reported in travelers returning to the United States from infected areas, and the CDC expects the number of these cases to increase. 
Guidance for Clinicians
The following guidance has been distributed to IDSA members who subscribe to our CDC Alerts service: 
CDC also sponsored a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call on January 26 to provide guidance on Zika virus. Slides and transcript are available online
Alerts on Zika virus can be found on the IDSA website and new information will be added as it becomes available. 
The CDC also has developed a micro site on Zika virus with the latest developments on affected areas, travel notices and important information for health care providers. 
Informing the Public, Policymakers
IDSA spokespeople have fielded numerous media requests on Zika virus, helping to reassure the public about what’s currently known about the disease, including CDC’s recommended precautions for pregnant women, and stressing the importance of preventing mosquito bites.
The House of Representatives committee that oversees health policy is reportedly planning a congressional hearing on the Zika virus to discuss steps that federal agencies can take to better confront the disease. IDSA plans to weigh in, stressing the need for funding for public health capacity at local and international levels, support for research and development of medical countermeasures, enhanced health system preparedness for infectious diseases, and improvements to the global health infrastructure. 
IDSA is also making the case that Zika virus is just one more example of the continuing need to attract the best and brightest medical students to the field of infectious diseases. 
IDSA’s Center for Global Health Policy’s blog—Science Speaks—has expanded its coverage to include the Zika virus.
Sign Up for IDSA’s CDC/FDA Alerts 
IDSA offers two email services to help members stay informed of updates from FDA and CDC. Content includes a range of topics, including drug warnings, recalls, and outbreak investigations. To subscribe, please click here (member log-in required). Other recent (non-Zika) alerts include:

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