U.S. Government International Zika Response

Written Statement

The U.S. Government is committed to helping prevent, detect, and respond to Zika virus both at home and abroad. We are working with countries in the Americas and other international partners to provide targeted, customized support to those affected or threatened by the virus. Cooperating with other countries on Zika public health emergency response and planning helps us to build a stronger global response for the United States and the international community, while contributing to international development. If we can control an infectious disease outbreak quickly, either at home or abroad, we can help prevent it from spreading within the United States and limit its impact on the American people. 

Our focus is to protect individuals, particularly pregnant women, from Zika by:

  1. Controlling the spread of the virus;
  2. Increasing awareness of how the virus is transmitted and how to prevent infection;
  3. Supporting disease detection and monitoring of transmission; and
  4. Supporting people who are affected.

Although there is still much to learn about the Zika virus, one thing is clear: we need to act now. Presently, we are using redirected funds originally set aside for Ebola response and recovery to begin to move forward with our efforts abroad. Our initial overseas response will be targeted to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with the highest levels of infection and greatest anticipated needs. In some countries – the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras – we are offering direct, robust support to help address the virus. In others, we are offering assistance through regional approaches and partnerships. In Brazil and Colombia, we are working collaboratively with the governments to research Zika and determine how best to prevent, detect, and respond to the outbreak.

Specific efforts will support ongoing monitoring of the virus’s spread; development of surveillance tools that track infection, illness, and consequences in order to learn about transmission patterns and effective countermeasures; mosquito surveillance and control, including training staff, supporting insecticide resistance surveillance, providing mosquito control supplies and equipment, and strengthening logistics; laboratory diagnosis, including training laboratory staff and improving availability of supplies; maternal and child health and family planning; strengthening providers’ ability to diagnose and counsel for Zika and provide prenatal care; and improving awareness of how to avoid infection.

In addition to our enhanced, targeted efforts with partner governments, the U.S. Government continues its ongoing efforts in the provision of technical, regulatory, and policy expertise and leadership globally. We are accelerating ongoing flavivirus research efforts and working on the development and availability of tools that could help control current and future outbreaks of the Zika virus. U.S. Government activities include working in collaboration with national and international partners to analyze, validate, and exchange information about the Zika outbreak, facilitate the development and availability of medical products to respond to Zika, spearhead biomedical research related to Zika, and address medical countermeasure needs for the Zika response.

Zika remains a serious public health threat, but the U.S. Government and international partners are taking steps to mitigate its effects both at home and abroad.

Last updated: May 23, 2017

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