KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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CDC: Doctors Should Screen All Pregnant Women For Zika At Every Checkup

Previously, Zika testing was only recommended for pregnant women if they or their sexual partner had traveled to an area where the virus was actively spreading, and if they showed symptoms.

The Associated Press: Doctors Urged To Check Pregnant Women For Zika At Each Visit
U.S. health officials are strongly urging doctors to ask all pregnant women about a possible Zika infection at every checkup. So far, there have been no confirmed cases of a Zika infection from a mosquito bite in the United States, although officials expect mosquitoes will start spreading it in Southern states. All U.S. illnesses have been connected to travel to areas with Zika outbreaks. (7/25)

The Washington Post: CDC Issues Updated Guidance For Zika Testing In Pregnant Women
The new guidance, issued Monday, also applies to pregnant women who have no symptoms. The agency is updating its guidance because of new research showing the virus can stay in the blood of pregnant women for longer than the previously recommended seven-day window for testing after symptoms begin. Even pregnant women without symptoms can have evidence of the virus in their blood and urine, the CDC said. (Sun, 7/25)

The Hill: CDC Warns Women Can Also Spread Zika Through Sex
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday updated its guidance in order to address the possibility of the Zika virus spreading from women to men through sex. The update comes after the first female-to-male sexual transmission of the disease was reported in New York City earlier this month. (Sullivan, 7/25)

In other news about the virus —

Stat: CDC Backs Down On Plans To Use Controversial Insecticide To Thwart Zika
Federal health officials have decided not to proceed with plans to begin aerial spraying on Puerto Rico in order to prevent the spread of the Zika virus. The move came two days after the city of San Juan last week filed a lawsuit to prevent federal health officials from pursuing spraying. The step came amid heated debate over the extent to which spraying an insecticide called Naled will have a negative effect on human health and wildlife. In its lawsuit, which was filed on July 21 in federal court in San Juan, the city argued the spraying will “pose a significant risk to the well-being of several species of fish, wildlife, and plants.” The suit also cited “a serious risk to the general health” of San Juan residents. (Silverman, 7/25)

Orlando Sentinel: Feds: Stay Vigilant To Prevent Zika Cases
Local transmission of the Zika virus will happen in Florida this summer, federal health officials predicted during a visit to Orange County Mosquito Control on Monday...What's concerning officials most is the devastating effects of the virus on unborn babies. So far, 12 babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects, such as microcephaly. (Miller, 7/25)

The New York Times: Colombia Declares End To The Zika Epidemic
Health officials here on Monday declared an end to the Zika epidemic in Colombia, the first time a South American country had turned the tide on the disease, they said. ... While health officials said the number of new infections had decreased to 600 new cases a week, they added that they still expected a limited number of new cases in the coming months as the disease wound down. (Casey, 7/25)

Los Angeles Times: Why The Rio Olympics Are Not Likely To Increase The Spread Of Zika Across The World
More than a dozen athletes have dropped out of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro citing fears of spreading the Zika virus, but a new study from researchers at Yale University finds that the international sporting event poses little risk of increasing the transfer of the virus around the world. “Yes, Zika is a serious disease, but transmission linked to the Olympics and ParaOlympic Games is not a substantial public health threat and policy should be guided by this fact,” said Gregg Gonsalves, co-director of the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership and an author on the paper. (Netburn, 7/25)

Miami Herald: With Zika, Learn How To Protect Yourself And Kids From Mosquitoes
While there have not yet been any locally contracted cases of the virus, health officials are taking steps to protect against Aedes aegytpi, the mosquito species endemic to South Florida and primary transmitter of Zika virus. As of Monday, Florida had 358 travel-related Zika cases, including 48 cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms, second in the country after New York. (Cochrane, 7/25)

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