Zika Virus Transmission in the Americas

The NH DHHS issued a health alert on January 20, regarding Zika virus infections in the Americas.

NH Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS) draws your attention to the following:

Key Points and Recommendations:

1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported locally acquired Zika virus infections in multiple countries in the Americas, with specific recommendations for providers managing patients considering or returning from travel to affected countries; healthcare providers should review the attached CDCHAN-00385.

2) The CDC recommends that pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is occurring, and women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before travel to one of these areas and follow strict steps to avoid mosquito bites.

3) Healthcare providers should also take a travel history in all pregnant women. Pregnant women with a consistent travel history and symptoms of Zika virus infection within 2 weeks of travel or who have certain abnormal prenatal ultrasound findings should be tested for Zika virus. The details of these guidelines for managing pregnant women are here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1er.htm?s_cid=mm6502e1er_e.4

4) There have been no locally acquired cases of Zika virus infection identified in the United States, but the risk for importation then local transmission exists in some parts of the country because the mosquito vectors capable of transmitting infection are present. Such mosquitos are not present in New Hampshire.

5) Healthcare providers should be aware of the symptoms of Zika virus disease. In most individuals, Zika virus infection is asymptomatic or causes mild illness; however, some patients have fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgias, and conjunctivitis. Zika virus has also been rarely associated with serious complications including Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly in children born to women who were pregnant at the time of infection.

6) Healthcare providers should report suspected Zika virus disease to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS). NH DPHS can help coordinate testing for Zika virus at a CDC laboratory; the decision to test will be made on a case-by-case basis based on patient risk factors and clinical course. The NH DPHS can be reached at 603-271-4496 (after hours 1-800-852-3345 ext.5300).

For any questions regarding the contents of this message, please contact NH DHHS, DPHS, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496 (after hours 1-800-852-3345 ext.5300).

Click here for the full DHHS alert.