The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged health officials in the U.S. to get ready for Zika virus outbreak during a summit held on April 1 in Atlanta.

Meeting Of Health Officials

The Zika Action Plan Summit was attended by over 300 public health experts. The event aims to guarantee a smooth and coordinated response among states against Zika virus.

The CDC plans to implement different interventions to achieve this goal. One strategy is to provide tools and education to senior state and local officials on how to boost Zika preparedness and response within states.

Another method is to add information regarding the latest science news on Zika, as well as its implications on pregnant women.

The CDC also aims to boost knowledge about the best way to communicate among parties in times of crises.

The agency is also looking to perform training and technical assistance to local communities to help solidify and support monitoring and control of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Lastly, the CDC is looking at determining and addressing potential breaches in the response and preparedness aspects of the federal, state and local sectors.

Taking Early Action

Being prepared early on is the key to success, or so they say.

About 15 years ago, when the West Nile Virus affected the U.S., health leaders were caught off guard. For American Public Health Association executive director Georges Benjamin, the early Zika action is a chance to get ahead of the curve.

White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Amy Pope agrees and pushes the need to imbibe urgency. As she was the White House Ebola response coordinator, she knows from experience that there is no need to wait until Zika becomes full-blown in the U.S. "It's just too late at that point," she says.

Focus On Pregnant Women

The summit also emphasizes the need to detect early whether a pregnant woman has been exposed to Zika or not.

Although it has not yet been proven, Zika is suspected to cause congenital anomalies such as microcephaly in children born to mothers infected with Zika virus.

CDC Director Tom Frieden said all actions must be focused on addressing this particular risk.

Developing Action Plans

The CDC extended assistance to various states so they can formulate their Zika action plans. This is to help communities respond efficiently once mosquitoes start spreading the virus from one individual to another.

At present, there is no vaccine yet against Zika virus. The main strategy now is centered on prevention, that is, to control mosquito breeding and prevent mosquito bites.

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