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Zika Virus Resources for Essential Hospitals

Zika virus, named for its East Africa point of origin, a Ugandan forest, was first identified in 1947 and did not appear in humans until 1952. Cases of the disease had been infrequent until an outbreak in Brazil in spring 2015. Since that time, the virus has infected at least 1 million people in more than 30 countries, including the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the disease is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and could infect as many as 4 million people by the end of 2016. Based on this estimate, WHO declared a public health emergency Feb. 1.

The Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Its most common symptoms – fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis – generally are mild and last from a few days to a week. Only one in five people infected with the virus develop symptoms, and those who do usually don’t get sick enough to require hospitalization.

But of much greater concern is the link between Zika virus and microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an irregularly small head. Researchers also believe there may be a link between Zika and subsequent cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

America’s Essential Hospitals has established this resource page for its member hospitals and others with an interest in this emerging health crisis. Essential hospitals provide a significant volume of public health and emergency preparedness services and stand ready to support the nation’s response to Zika. Visit this page regularly for new and updated information.

General information:

Clinician specific:

Infant related:

Pregnancy related:

Travel recommendations:


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