Zika in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Beyond
Risks and Response

Summary

Brief Video Highlight

ZIKA IN THE U.S., PUERTO RICO AND BEYOND: Risks and Response 
Presented in Collaboration with Reuters

Thursday, September 29, 2016

With more than 23,100 cases of Zika in the continental U.S. and U.S. territories — including four newly reported non-travel cases in Miami-Dade County, Fla — this Forum continued a conversation begun in March 2016 to discuss the risks and response to the spreading Zika virus. The focus was on the U.S. and Caribbean, as well as other regions experiencing increases in cases. Public health experts examined our deepening understanding of how the virus works and how its spread may be controlled; where Congressional funding might be best spent; how vaccines might potentially help; and how public health messaging around the virus may impact at-risk groups, particularly pregnant women.

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Presented in Collaboration with Reuters

Image Credit: iStockphoto.com | xtrekx

  • The Forum Moderator

    Welcome everyone. We will begin shortly.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We have begun. Thanks for joining us today.

  • The Forum Moderator

    This event is in collaboration with Reuters.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We will have a brief Q&A at the end of this event. If you have questions for our panelists, please post them here. Or email them to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu

  • The Forum Moderator

    We also are streaming on Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/harvardpublichealth/

  • The Forum Moderator

    The video clip is from a few weeks ago and the situation in Florida has evolved since then. But the clip gives a good idea of the challenges of mosquito spraying. The clip is courtesy of Reuters.

  • The Forum Moderator
  • The Forum Moderator

    You heard some of our panelists refer to a Congressional bill passed yesterday that includes Zika funding. Reuters coverage of the bill is here http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-idUSKCN11Y1MJ

  • Gwyneth Shaw

    What do we know about Zika infection in women of childbearing age who then go on to get pregnant? Are there indications that an infection before you’re pregnant can affect a child?

  • The Forum Moderator

    This PSA was produced for March of Dimes by PACTV and was provided courtesy of March of Dimes.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Have a question for the panelists? Post them here. Or email them to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu. We’ll pass them along for a Q&A in a few minutes.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We will post this video on demand on this site on Monday. We also will post it on YouTube and iTunesU. And the audio will be posted here, on SoundCloud and on iTunesU.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Our Q&A will begin shortly.

  • The Forum Moderator

    The first-person report from Reuters reporter Nick Brown that our moderator mentioned can be found here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-patient-insight-idUSKCN11I0AT

  • The Forum Moderator

    Our event will end in about 10 minutes, but we will post this video on demand on this site on Monday. We also will post it on YouTube and iTunesU.

  • Corey

    This is happening in the US at the same time as a number of legal and political controversies around access to reproductive health services. What is being done with respect to including Zika considerations in planning, education, and policy decisions on reproductive health?

    • The Forum Moderator

      Thanks so much. Looks like the speakers are wrapping up. However, we will ask them if they can come to our site and respond.

      • Corey

        Thanks, sorry I was so late in posting! I am working on this issue in Latin America and would love to hear their (or any listeners’) perspectives.

        • The Forum Moderator

          Sure thing. I hope they are able to respond. Great question.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Thank you again for joining us today.

  • The Forum Moderator

    You may be interested in watching Ann Compton this Monday, October 3, in our sister series, Voices in Leadership. She will speak at 12:30pmET on “Journalistic Leadership from Watergate to 9/11 and Beyond” here https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/voices/events/compton/

  • The Forum Moderator

    And our next Forum will be on October 18, 12:30-1:30pm. That event will be about child care in the U.S. More info will be posted at ForumHSPH.org next week.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Thank you all for joining us today.

  • Kristen

    Question sent in by email

    I am a physician who preciously worked at the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit (before it re-located to Texas) on transovarial transmission rates of various mosquito born illnesses (Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Dengue).

    My question is two part:

    1) Is anyone studying the transovarial transmission rates for Aedes aegypti of the Zikka virus

    2) Are public health departments aware of the potential risk of endemnicity that could follow if there is transovarial transmission and are budget advbocates making that case?

    Thank you,

    All the best,

    Liz

  • Kristen

    Question sent in by email

    Good afternoon!
    I am Giorgia A., I have already participated with my questions in the previous forum in March.
    Today i would like to ask you the following:

    During the Olympics, i have been around Rio, where i Live, looking for advertisements and billboards announcing something on what the risks of Zika were…but I was disappointed….as I found very little…and apparently nobody was talking about it!

    1.How do you think this was perceived by population-locally and internationally- in terms of reliability on official communication Brazilians organism?

    2.What the real situation in terms of new cases(among Brazilians and tourists), in Brazil, given that cases continued to be reported, in other countries where weather conditions were similar to Brazil in this same period?

    • Marcia Castro

      I am surprised you found very little. I was there as well, went to all Olympic locations, and there were signs at airports, the subway, buses, grocery stores, and some pharmacies were distributing free samples of repellents with a leaflet explaining about vector control and Zika (to name a few). I also have friends who stayed at hotels and were provided with information as well.
      The perception of risk was very little. The weather was warm, and people were wearing shorts, flipflops, t-shirts, as I am sure you noticed. I asked a few people and since mosquitoes were not being felt/seen, protection measures were relaxed.
      There was an app that visitors were aware, and that was advertised by the Ministry of Health, which also contained information in varied languages.
      So, I am not sure why you could not see all this information.
      I believe the second question was answered during the forum.

  • Kristen

    Question on Live Chat

    This is happening in the US at the same time as a number of legal and political controversies around access to reproductive health services. What is being done with respect to including Zika considerations in planning, education, and policy decisions on reproductive health?

  • Forum Staff

    Question submitted via email from a viewer in Ecuador: How sure are we of the implication of Aedes aegypti in Zika transmission and are there are others ways to transmit the virus? Is Aedes aegypti in the area? Is Aedes albopictus present in the U.S. too?

  • Forum Staff

    Question from Coleen G. received via email: For people not planning on getting pregnant in the future or older people, what are the main concerns regarding Zika? Are there medical risks for all infected individuals?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: Mosquitoes know no borders. What are some joint efforts the U.S. has conducted with neighboring countries in order to curb transmission and the growing epidemic?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: We have talked much about the mosquito-to-human transmission of the virus, yet there is sexual (and perhaps even saliva) transmission. What resources and strategies are you pulling together to address this dimension? Have you entered in collaboration with groups working on HIV and STIs to adopt some of their approaches? And, is that more possible now that Congress is approving funding and overcoming the disagreement over using some of these resources for Planned Parenthood clinics?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: The U.S. is oftentimes considered a leader when it comes to healthcare, but in recent years, many countries have shown very innovative and successful health interventions we would do well of imitating. Which country/ies can we learn lessons from in regards to the Zika virus, and how was/were their response successful?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: While the Northern part of the United States will not be exposed to mosquitoes until next spring, Zika will likely still be present in the U.S. at that point and will have a shorter distance to travel when the warm weather returns. How are cities in the North (and not in these “tropical” climates) anticipating a response to a potential outbreak (e.g. New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.)?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: We saw Ebola outbreak in West Africa a few years ago, leaving many dead in a short period of time. This past year, Zika — while not as deadly, certainly more debilitating — started up again in Brazil and made its way North. In a world with increased traffic, trade, and travel, and in the context of climate change, how can we best prepare our health institutions for future epidemics of the sort?

  • Forum Staff

    Question received via email: Unlike diseases like smallpox, the Zika virus shows few external symptoms on adult patients, and often none. And exposure to mosquitoes — in addition to their ability to travel long distances — is hard to control. In a setting like Miami, where there are millions of people living in dense urban areas, with many pregnant women (or women wanting to be pregnant), how do we set priorities for the way in which we test individuals and respond to the outbreak?