Zika Resource Center

Zika Resource Center

April 01, 2016
2 min read

CDC summit updates health officials on Zika virus

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The CDC hosted a summit today to prepare local, state and federal health experts, officials and other non-government partners for potential transmissions of Zika virus.

The Zika Action Plan Summit drew more than 300 attendees as well as more than 2,000 online participants, according to CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, and featured the latest data concerning the emerging mosquito-borne infection. Throughout the event, CDC and other partners led sessions to provide attendees with disease-specific information and the technical support necessary to bolster local responses to a potential outbreak.

Thomas Frieden

Thomas R. Frieden

“The bottom line here is that we’re all working together to protect pregnant women,” Frieden said during a news conference at the summit. “It has been, to the day, 10 weeks since we first issued a travel advisory about Zika at CDC, and in that 10 weeks we have learned an enormous amount [and] done an enormous amount, but there’s much more to learn and much more to do.”

Frieden noted several of the more recent findings being discussed at the summit, such as the high risk for male-to-female sexual transmission, potential associations between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome, and the high levels of interest and concern in the infection demonstrated by pregnant women in affected areas. While Frieden also discussed other topics, including the development of new diagnostic platforms and the dissemination of transmission information to the public, he stressed the importance of adequate funding and support to maintain these gains.

“Without additional resources, we will not be able to get the resources to the state and local entities that they need for a robust response,” Frieden said. “We won’t be able to do the innovations that we need to get ahead, of not just this mosquito-borne threat, but other mosquito-borne threats as well. We need the resources in order to provide Americans with the protection they deserve.”

Amy Pope, JD, White House deputy homeland security adviser and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, elaborated on these points. Citing the administration’s experience with providing support throughout the Ebola epidemic, she emphasized the importance of acquiring adequate financial aid before an emerging infection becomes epidemic. This support cannot come at the expense of other public health efforts, she said, and will require collaboration between experts and policymakers at the national and local scale.

“[This summit] represents a critical opportunity to prepare states that may be affected by Zika in the coming months, and this is not something we can do alone,” Pope said. “We’ve come here together today, and we must work together going forward to stop outbreaks of Zika and protect those who are most at risk of Zika infection.” – by Dave Muoio


Zika Action Plan Summit. http://www.cdc.gov/zap/index.html. Accessed April 1, 2016.

Disclosures: Infectious Disease News was unable to determine relevant financial disclosures for Frieden and Pope at the time of publication.