Malloy Expected To Announce ‘Vigorous’ Response to Zika Virus
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to detail the state’s “vigorous” response to the Zika virus Thursday after a meeting with state health officials at the Emergency Operations Center.
At the 1:30 p.m. briefing, Malloy is expected to make Zika a reportable disease, which will enable local, state, federal, and international officials to share information about the disease.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will monitor the mosquito population across the state through its network of traps.
The Zika virus is spread by daytime mosquitoes and is similar to the West Nile virus. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory for pregnant women in January advising them to postpone travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. That’s a list of about 30 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean.
World Health Organization declared the Zika virus an international emergency after a concentration of birth defects, microcephaly, and a potentially crippling disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, started showing up in babies born in Brazil.
The CDC recommends that every pregnant woman returning from a country with ongoing Zika transmission should be tested for Zika virus infection. This includes both pregnant women with symptoms of Zika and pregnant women with no symptoms.
There is no vaccine for the virus and only 1 out of 5 people infected with the virus will experience symptoms.
President Barack Obama’s requested $1.8 billion in emergency funding to prepare for the Zika virus. Congress will have to approve the request. Currently, there is no money in the emergency fund.
“We should not be having discussions on funding during outbreaks of diseases and other public health crises,” U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, said last week. “Congress should fund the public health emergency fund, so that our response to diseases like Ebola and Zika is not slowed by Congressional lethargy.”
It’s unclear how many resources the state will dedicate to test for the virus in Connecticut.
Check back later for updates following the press conference.