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A unified integrated public health approach: Zika responseBackground: Zika virus planning in Georgia has involved many units within the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH). Their roles and responsibilities include identifying potential vectors, alerting and educating the public on how to ‘tip n toss’, preparing and testing for Zika virus infection at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL), monitoring travelers, including pregnant women, infected with Zika virus, direct messaging for pregnant women, mothers of newborns and women who are considering pregnancy, and education on sexual transmission for men and women. Methods: With no locally transmitted case of Zika virus infection within Georgia, the focus has been on public messaging and answering the myriad calls about Zika virus from health care providers and the public. This unified response involves numerous GDPH units: Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health, GPHL, Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Environmental Health, Risk Communication, WIC, and others. Conclusions: The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response is one member of this multi-unit team. This session will identify the roles and responsibilities of each of these units in the unified response to Zika virus within Georgia both at the state and district level. Lessons learned from this approach build upon GDPH’s overall capacity to provide an integrated respond to public health threats and emergencies within the state.
Zika virus communication preferences of pregnant women: Beyond the verbalBackground: Pregnant women are frequently a priority group during public health emergencies, including the current Zika virus outbreak. These women turn to prenatal care providers for health information, but providers may not have the time for discussions with every patient. Knowing alternative ways to communicate key Zika-related information to pregnant women is important. Methods: To determine pregnant women’s preferences for obtaining Zika information from their prenatal providers, a 27-item survey was administered to 408 pregnant women at four prenatal care clinics in Atlanta between May 5th, 2016 and June 20th, 2016. The anonymous survey evaluated women’s preferences for receiving information about three topics: Zika virus, maternal vaccines and safe medications. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to determine statistical significance of associations between these topics and selected patient characteristics. Significance was evaluated at α=0.05. Results: Educational brochures (63.8%), e-mails (55.2%) and their provider’s practice website (40.2%) were women’s most preferred modalities for receiving information about Zika virus beyond verbal communication. Most women (73.2%) use the CDC website as their primary source of information about Zika virus; only 19.2% seek that information on their provider’s website. Conclusions: Conveying Zika-related information to pregnant women is essential. As public health practitioners create and refine provider-to-patient communications, they can use these findings to ensure their messages align with how women want to receive information (e.g., brochures, emails, provider websites) and take advantage of existing modalities (e.g. their own websites) that providers may not be fully utilizing.
The Zika virus in the United States: A comprehensive reviewBackground: With a series of outbreaks spanning the globe, the Zika virus has transitioned, in a short time, from an obscure virus to a public health emergency. Locally transmitted Zika has reached the United States, leading to increased concern regarding further transmission and the potential impact on public health. Methods: The present study was conducted to examine the propagation and effects of Zika in the United States by reviewing published literature regarding Zika in conjunction with updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To gauge the regional response, including prevention and control efforts, interviews were conducted with public health and mosquito control officials. Results: Exposure to Zika may be through vectors, sexual activity with an infected partner, or congenitally to the unborn fetus. Regardless of the mode of transmission, Zika infection may result in serious neurological consequences in adults and especially in fetuses. Conclusions: Prevention of Zika infection is key to successful control of the virus. Vector control and surveillance as well as personal protection from virus exposure are necessary to avoid the potentially devastating effects of the virus. In an effort to prevent further spread, public health authorities are implementing strategies for public education, prevention, and containment.