Tribal Zika Response and Planning

What is the Zika Virus

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, but can also be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

Outbreaks of Zika are occurring in many countries and territories, and because the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries. On Feb. 1, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern because of clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika. To date, Zika has not been spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, lab tests have confirmed Zika virus in travelers returning to the United States and in some non-travelers who got Zika through sex with a traveler. Additionally, local transmission of Zika has been reported in US territories, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

The CDC has created a slide show that can be viewed or used to show others that explains in everyday terms exactly what is the Zika virus. It can be found here. Zika is preventable by minimizing exposure to the mosquitoes that carry Zika. For some basic prevention measures, watch this video.

Why is Zika a Problem

With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. Imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States. To mitigate the impacts of the virus in the U.S., prevention and response efforts must be robust and holistic. Tribal nations are frequently left out of state or local emergency preparedness plans resulting in potentially life-threatening gaps in coverage during times of public health threats. It is critical that Tribes are provided the necessary resources to take early steps in securing equipment and developing strategic plans for mitigating the potential dangers of an outbreak in Tribal communities. Of particular importance in Tribal communities, will be forming cross-jurisdictional action plans and vector surveillance and control efforts.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities are already among the most at-risk for tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. This is demonstrable through the disproportionate impact Rocky Mountain spotted fever and West Nile virus have had on Tribal communities where AI/ANs experience higher exposure and infection rates than the general U.S. population. Additionally, the risk of new vector-borne diseases being introduced into Tribal communities on the U.S.-Mexico border is high. It is imperative that Tribes begin taking action now to plan for this emerging public health concern.

Resources

 


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ZIKA SUMMITS 2017
 


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FACT SHEETS & POSTERS
 


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PREVENTION PLANNING & MITIGATION
 


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AREAS THAT MAY BE IMPACTED
 


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ZIKA VIRUS FAQ
 


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CURRENT NEWS AND UPDATES
 


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ZIKA PREGNANCY REGISTRY
 


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CONGRESSIONAL ACTION
 

Information from the CDC



 

NIHB Contact:

Carolyn Angus-Hornbuckle, JD
Director of Public Health Policy and Programs

National Indian Health Board
910 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Phone: 202-507-4089
Washington, DC 20003
[email protected]

 

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