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Zika Outbreak in the United States: How Did it Happen?


Stephen Redd, MD (RADM, USPHS), Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explains how the Zika virus spread to the United States.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“The Zika outbreak has unfolded very similarly to the Chikungunya outbreak that we experience several years ago. That is with wide-spread transmission in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and imported cases into the United States. As we suspected, because we have the same mosquitoes in the southern United States that transmit the virus as those countries that have active transmission, we thought there was a possibility that there would be locally transmitted mosquito-borne transmission and that’s turned out to be true in Florida. Two areas right now have been identified as having active transmission, and so really intense work has really been [focused] on eliminating that transmission, making sure everybody knows what’s going on, and in the case of Zika, being especially sure that women of reproductive age are aware of mosquito-transmission and making recommendations not to visit those areas with active transmission.”
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