State has plan to battle Zika virus - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State has plan to battle Zika virus

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets with state officials to plan for Zika virus response. (@GovMalloyOffice) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets with state officials to plan for Zika virus response. (@GovMalloyOffice)
All Countries and Territories with Active Zika Virus Transmission. (CDC) All Countries and Territories with Active Zika Virus Transmission. (CDC)

The Governor met Thursday with other state leaders to develop a plan for responding to the Zika virus in Connecticut.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he was “proactively planning” for the disease during a Thursday afternoon meeting at Connecticut’s Emergency Operations Center.

“The more planning and preparation we do now, the more successful we’ll be in our response, if needed, later. We’ve developed a road map for a coordinated response by state agencies to any potential threat posed by Zika,” Malloy said.

Malloy said they have an “obligation to protect residents” and “will be ready with a coordinated response if it’s required.”

“We’re working cross-functionally, across agencies, to ensure that we are being proactive and to ensure that we are as prepared as we possibly can be,” Malloy said.

The Zika virus has gotten so serious that the Centers for Disease Control is urging pregnant women who have simply traveled to affected countries and aren't exhibiting symptoms to get themselves tested.

“It's probably by the way of someone who traveled to an area that is more impacted than ours,” Malloy said.

When you see the birth defects from this virus, it's hard not to be concerned about Zika. There are some cases already in the United States. The closest case is in Massachusetts

Connecticut officials said they are putting a plan in motion.

“What we want to do is destroy these mosquitoes before they become biting adults,” Malloy said.

The state will be able to test for the virus locally by the end of the month.

Once mosquitoes show up in late spring, they'll be monitored and tested each week for the virus. All that will happen while hospitals are testing and preparing too.

Dr. Ulysses Wu with Saint Francis Hospital said they've already been flooded with questions.

“It's not just women being affected directly. It's also men because they're worried about transmission,” Wu said. 

Connecticut hospitals will be also be working closely with the state as they too, roll out their Zika plans. Doctors do want to assure the community, the virus in mosquito-form hasn't reached United States.

“It has not been identified in the United States,” Wu said. “All these are imported cases, all these are travelers.”

There have been no Connecticut residents who have gotten the Zika virus. There are no mosquito that carry the virus in the state.

“We will also be reaching out to municipal officials to communicate the importance of eliminating potential breeding grounds for any mosquitoes.  These breeding grounds can be created by the buildup of even small amounts of standing water in discarded tires and anything else that can serve as a container in backyards, vacant lots, and public places.  Unfortunately, rising temperatures and other changes in our weather we will see as a result of climate change increases the likelihood of topical mosquito-borne diseases gaining a foothold in Connecticut, so it is critical for us to continue building on effective strategies we have put in place to control these insects and to increase public awareness of this challenge," DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said in a statement on Thursday.

The samples won't need to be sent out of state to the CDC. We will be able to test for the virus locally by the end of the month.

Pregnant women who have traveled to affected areas are urged to get tested.

Officials said the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are the following:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis 

However, DPH officials said there are one in five cases that will show no symptoms. 

Zika virus disease is be known to be mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week, however, “infection is thought to provide lifelong immunity.”

For more information on the Zika virus, click here

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