WeatherChannel.com | June 6, 2016
How do you know if you've contracted the Zika virus disease? With the start of mosquito season, more attention is being paid to the medical symptoms of the growing health scare, especially as health officials caution that the bloodsucking insects carrying the virus could soon arrive in the Southern United States.
Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist and vice president of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association told weather.com earlier this year that it was important to remain alert.
"I don't know that we need to be worried [about Zika specifically], but we always need to be aware of mosquitoes and concerned about mosquito bites," Fredericks said. "The mosquitos that transmit this particular disease are in the United States already, but in order for transmission to occur, infected people need to be here [as well]."
The disease can cause severe birth defects, called microcephaly, if it infects pregnant women, which has worried many health experts.
As Zika threat looms, how pregnant women can protect themselves
CBSNews.com | June 2, 2016
The first-known baby born in the mainland United States with Zika-related birth defects faces a "very poor" prognosis, health officials say.
According to doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, an ultrasound revealed the baby was born with a smaller head and underdeveloped brain -- a condition known as microcephaly. The baby's mother contracted the Zika virus in Honduras.
KRISTV.com | Tue May 3, 2016
(NBC News) - Medical experts meeting in Atlanta warned Tuesday that the Zika virus is very likely coming to the U.S. mainland and the nation isn't ready.
With rising temperatures and rainy forecasts, conditions across much of the Southeast are becoming perfect living and breeding conditions for the main carrier of Zika virus, the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
The biologists and infectious disease experts gathered in Atlanta this week to address Zika concerns say funding is needed urgently.
So far Congress has not approved White House requests for emergency funding for Zika research and preparedness.
"It's not just enough to put signs in the airport," said Emory University's Dr. Raymond Schinazi.
Mosquito prevention efforts are usually coordinated at the county level and many poor areas do not have resources necessary to fight the Zika carrying insects.
In the long term, babies born to pregnant women affected by Zika will need to be monitored.
"We don't know beyond microcephaly what the long-range effect on babies who might look they were born normal but might have more defects that are more subtle," explained Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
His agency will start human trials of a Zika vaccine in September.
By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent | Wed February 3, 2016
CNN.com - Zika-infected mosquitoes aren't just causing medical problems, they're creating a theological conundrum for the Roman Catholic Church, according to priests and other experts.
The church has long forbidden nearly every form of birth control, but health officials in some Latin American countries have advised women not to get pregnant, because the virus has been linked to an incurable and often devastating neurological birth defect.
"I've never seen this advice before, and when you hear it, you think, 'What are the bishops going to do?'" said the Rev. John Paris, a bioethicist and Catholic priest at Boston College.
"It's going to present a lot of problems for the bishops to sort out," echoed Daniel Ramirez, an assistant professor of history and American culture at the University of Michigan and an expert on Latin American religious culture.
"They're going to have to really thread a fine theological needle here," he added.
By Jon Herskovitz | Tue February 2, 2016
REUTERS.com - The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Texas on Tuesday by local health officials, who said it was contracted through sexual contact and not the bite of a mosquito, a day after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency.
Dallas County Health and Human Services said it received confirmation of the case in Dallas from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Dallas County health official said in a tweet that the case was transmitted through sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela. The person infected did not travel to the South American country, county health officials said.
County authorities said there were no reports of the virus being locally transmitted by mosquitoes in the Texas county.
By Tom Frieden, CNN | Mon February 1, 2016
CNN.com - Vaccines and antibiotics have made many infectious diseases a thing of the past; we've come to expect that public health and modern science can conquer all microbes. But nature is a formidable adversary. And Zika is our newest threat, particularly to pregnant women.
New, unfamiliar and mysterious threats to our health are scary. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- where we identify, on average, one new health threat each year -- we work around the clock with an approach that prioritizes finding out what we need to know as fast as we can to protect Americans.
The CDC has some of the world's leading experts both in diseases spread by mosquitoes and in fetal abnormalities. We get the facts, base actions on science, tell people what we know when we know it and what we are doing to add to our knowledge, and act to protect Americans today as effectively as possible.
By Greg Botelho, CNN | Thu January 28, 2016
CNN.com - The lack of any immunity to Zika virus and the fact the mosquitoes that spread it can be found most "everywhere in the Americas" -- from the southern tip of Argentina to the southern United States -- "explains the speed" of the Zika virus's spread, Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri of the Pan American Health Organization told reporters Thursday.
A WHO emergency committee meeting on the Zika virus to be convened Monday in Geneva will review evidence related to the virus and offer recommendations on curbing Zika's spread and its possible association with neurological disorders, WHO official Dr. Bruce Aylward said.
The panel also will try to ensure that member states don't make inappropriate steps that would unnecessarily affect travel and trade, Aylward said.
Aylward and Aldighieri were speaking to reporters in Geneva.
The Zika virus "is now spreading explosively" around the Americas, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday, calling the level of alarm over the disease "extremely high."
"The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told her organization's executive board members. "We need to get some answers, quickly."
The mosquito-borne disease is now in "23 countries and territories in the region," according to Chan. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said Zika is in 24 nations.
- Photos: Zika Virus Outbreak - CNN.com
By Sandee LaMotte, CNN | Wed January 27, 2016
CNN.com - A relatively new mosquito-borne virus is prompting worldwide concern because of an alarming connection to a neurological birth disorder and the rapid spread of the virus across the globe.
The Zika virus, transmitted by the aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito, has now spread to at least 24 countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women against travel to those areas; health officials in several of those countries are telling female citizens to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases for up to two years.
"That's a pandemic in progress," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. "It isn't as if it's turning around and dying out, it's getting worse and worse as the days go by."
Here are five important things to know:
1. What is Zika and why is it so serious?
The Zika virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. But unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.
Zika is commanding worldwide attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. This causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death.