An Earthquake, a tropical storm, and an emerging virus in Yap
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An Earthquake, a tropical storm, and an emerging virus in Yap

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    Often CDC is called in to support local health officials in investigating an unknown illness. In May 2007, the Yap Department of Health Services (YDHS) contacted CDC for assistance in solving the mystery of an unusual illness in its community. Yap is part of the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific. On this island of 7,000 people, 500 residents had come down with an unknown illness. Their symptoms included joint pains, fever, rash and conjunctivitis that appeared different from more familiar diseases. Although it seemed similar to dengue fever, YDHS officials suspected the outbreak could be something else, so they sent samples to CDC, and advised residents to avoid mosquitoes.

    In addition to the success of the Yap investigation, this one outbreak provides many lessons for future responses. The team characterized the first-ever documented Zika virus outbreak, providing scientific information helpful for responding to future outbreaks. The team also identified the likely mosquito species in the outbreak, adding to the understanding of mosquito-borne viruses. Using the example of Zika virus in Yap, CDC researchers will continue to work with international colleagues to learn how viruses move around the globe.

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