Contagion&reg Launches Video Series Exploring US Fight Against Zika Virus


CDC Public Health Response Director Warns Lack of Funds Hampers Protection Efforts

PLAINSBORO, N.J. (July 21, 2016) — Contagion, the all-inclusive resource for infectious disease information, is launching an online video series with an exclusive interview with Stephen Redd, director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who warns that a lack of federal funding is compromising efforts to protect U.S. citizens from the Zika virus.

“We really won’t be able to protect the American people to the extent we can, from a technology standpoint, without that funding,” Dr. Redd said. “The U.S. government response to Zika right now is really operating on a shoestring.”

“The Contagion video series includes in-depth discussions with the CDC’s Dr. Redd about the U.S. response to Zika, how the epidemic is likely to unfold in the U.S. and what strategies are in place to protect against infection,” said Jeff Prescott, PharmD, RPh, Senior Vice President , Operations and Clinical Affairs at Michael J. Hennessy Associates. Videos are available at the website’s Zika page:

Zika is a virus spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. For most people, symptoms are mild, and many can be infected without realizing it. However, the virus can cause severe birth defects if pregnant women become infected. In addition, last Friday, the CDC reported new evidence that men can contract the virus from sexual contact with infected females. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the virus.

“This is the first mosquito-borne disease ever to cause a birth defect,” Dr. Redd explained. “It’s the first infectious disease to be recognized as causing a birth defect in 50 years.”

The U.S. has not experienced any active transmission of the virus, although more than 900 cases of imported infections—individuals infected outside the U.S.—have been reported so far, with a new study predicting the epidemic will last into 2019. Congress has, so far, failed to reach a decision on President Obama’s request for $1.9 billion to combat active Zika transmission.

“The $1.9 billion the President requested is really critical to be able to respond effectively,” Dr. Redd said, adding that substantial cuts have been made to programs focused on other infectious disease prevention and response—specifically Ebola—to identify $25 million for state, city and territories to fight Zika. As of July 17, the CDC reported about 1,300 cases in the U.S. and another 2,916 in U.S. territories—including more than 600 pregnant women total.

During the interview, Dr. Redd explained the unique role of his office, created in response to the World Trade Center and anthrax attacks in 2001 to enable the CDC to “operate very quickly in very complex situations.” He talked about how that experience—as well as the Ebola outbreak in 2014—is shaping responses to Zika. He also described how local transmission of Zika will most likely occur and the challenges that will arise.

Contagion will continue to publish the latest information available on Zika and other infectious diseases.

About Contagion

Contagion is a fully-integrated print and digital news publication that provides healthcare practitioners and aligned professionals with timely information and resources to improve patient outcomes and positively impact the identification, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. Contagion is part of Michael J. Hennessy Associates Inc., a full-service healthcare communications company offering education, research and medical media.

About Michael J. Hennessy Associates

A full-service healthcare communications company offering education, research and medical media, Michael J. Hennessy Associates Inc. is dedicated to providing healthcare professionals with the information and resources they need to optimize patient outcomes. The company combines the reach and influence of its powerful portfolio of print and digital product lines, live events, educational programs and custom market research with the customer service focus and customization capabilities of a boutique firm. Clients include world-leading pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and biotech companies.


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