Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are ramping up their response to the Zika virus – moving their Emergency Operations Center to Level 1 activation.

The agency’s Emergency Operations Center ( EOC ) was initially activated for Zika response on Jan. 22 to better coordinate the response to the Zika outbreak and bring together CDC scientists in arboviruses, reproductive health, and birth and developmental defects. On Feb. 8, the CDC accelerated its efforts “in anticipation of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental U.S.”

The EOC is currently at work on developing diagnostic tests for Zika virus, investigating links between the virus and microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, conducting surveillance in the United States, and providing on-the-ground support in Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Colombia.

The CDC recently updated its guidance on Zika virus, advising pregnant women to use condoms or abstain from sex with men who have traveled to Zika-infected areas. The agency also advised offering testing to pregnant women without symptoms of Zika virus 2-12 weeks after returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

The CDC’s current Zika virus travel alert includes American Samoa, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, Tonga, Venezuela, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic.

An up-to-date list of affected countries and regions is available at www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html .

mschneider@frontlinemedcom.com

On Twitter @maryelleny

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