Zika Virus Outbreak – New Guidelines from the World Health Organization Issued This Week

New recommendations issued on June 7, 2016 by the World Health Organization, focus on advising men and women of reproductive age, living in affected areas where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur, to delay pregnancy in order to prevent adverse pregnancy and fetal outcomes. Given the lack of a vaccine and challenges eradicating the mosquito population, the WHO recommendation emphasizes that delaying pregnancy may be the only effective way to avoid the risks of serious birth defects at the present time.

Click here for the Interim Guidance Update, issued June 7, 2016.

The Zika virus, carried by the Aedes mosquito, has been associated with profound microcephaly, including 1500 cases in Brazil; additional cases have been reported in 6 other countries. Currently Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa are the only parts of the US with documented transmitted cases; however, tropical disease experts clearly expect that cases will appear in Florida, Texas, and across the US Gulf Coast this summer. Additionally, the WHO Guidelines emphasize that there is “mounting evidence that sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible and more common than previously assumed,” and provide detailed guidance on precautions to avoid sexual transmission.

VON understands that this is a rapidly evolving situation and we will provide members resources, links and information as they become available. We urge you to register now and join us for a very important Sunrise Session on Sunday September 11, 2016 at the VON Annual Quality Congress, where we will get the most up-to-date guidance on the Zika outbreak and clinical implications for maternal infant care directly from our CDC colleagues.