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Local transmission of Zika Virus — Puerto Rico, November 23, 2015–January 28, 2016
  • Published Date:
    February 12, 2016
  • Language:
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  • Corporate Authors:
    National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S.). Division of Reproductive Health. ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.). Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services. Division of Public Health Information Dissemination. ; National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.) ; ... More ▼
  • Description:
    Updated Recommendations for Testing Pregnant Women with a History of Travel to Areas with Ongoing Zika Virus Transmission -- Guidelines for Pregnant Women Residing in Areas with Ongoing Zika Virus Transmission -- Special Considerations for Women of Reproductive Age Residing in Areas of Ongoing Zika Virus Transmission.

    Zika virus, a mosquito-borne flavivirus, spread to the Region of the Americas (Americas) in mid-2015, and appears to be related to congenital microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome (1,2). On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the occurrence of microcephaly cases in association with Zika virus infection to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.* On December 31, 2015, Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) reported the first locally acquired (index) case of Zika virus disease in a jurisdiction of the United States in a patient from southeastern Puerto Rico. During November 23, 2015–January 28, 2016, passive and enhanced surveillance for Zika virus disease identified 30 laboratory-confirmed cases. Most (93%) patients resided in eastern Puerto Rico or the San Juan metropolitan area. The most frequently reported signs and symptoms were rash (77%), myalgia (77%), arthralgia (73%), and fever (73%). Three (10%) patients were hospitalized. One case occurred in a patient hospitalized for Guillain-Barré syndrome, and one occurred in a pregnant woman. Because the most common mosquito vector of Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, is present throughout Puerto Rico, Zika virus is expected to continue to spread across the island. The public health response in Puerto Rico is being coordinated by PRDH with assistance from CDC. Clinicians in Puerto Rico should report all cases of microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and suspected Zika virus disease to PRDH. Other adverse reproductive outcomes, including fetal demise associated with Zika virus infection, should be reported to PRDH. To avoid infection with Zika virus, residents of and visitors to Puerto Rico, particularly pregnant women, should strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts, using permethrin-treated clothing and gear, using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent, and ensuring that windows and doors have intact screens.

    In November 2015, PRDH, with assistance from CDC, initiated surveillance for Zika virus disease in Puerto Rico by modifying the existing Passive Dengue Surveillance System (3) to include suspected Zika virus disease. Patients in whom a clinician suspected Zika virus disease were reported by sending a serum specimen with a modified dengue case investigation form.† In January 2016, PRDH initiated enhanced surveillance for Zika virus disease by performing Zika virus testing on specimens submitted during November 2015–January 2016 that had tested negative for dengue or chikungunya.

    Specimens collected within 7 days of illness onset were tested by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with updated primers to detect Zika virus RNA. Specimens collected ≥4 days after illness onset were tested by immunoglobulin M (IgM) capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect serologic evidence of recent Zika virus infection. Laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease cases were defined as detection of either Zika virus RNA by RT-PCR, or anti-Zika virus IgM antibody by ELISA with a simultaneous negative anti-dengue virus IgM antibody test.

    Suggested citation for this article: Suggested citation for this article: Thomas DL, Sharp TM, Torres J, et al. Local Transmission of Zika Virus — Puerto Rico, November 23, 2015–January 28, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(Early Release):1–6. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6506e2er.


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