Center for Disease Control (CDC) Issues Travel Alert for 14 Countries Because Zika Virus

CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Mosquito Bite

This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

  • Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Women trying to become pregnant who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update this travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Four in five people who acquire Zika infection may have no symptoms. Illness from Zika is usually mild and does not require hospitalization. Travelers are strongly urged to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
    • Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents).
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.

In addition to the steps announced today, CDC is working with public health experts across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take additional steps related to Zika. CDC is developing interim guidance for pregnant women as well as sharing additional information about Zika with public health officials, clinicians and the public.  In addition, efforts are underway across HHS to develop vaccines, improved diagnostics and other countermeasures for Zika.

Background:

CDC scientists tested samples provided by Brazilian health authorities from two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage and from two infants with diagnosed microcephaly who died shortly after birth. For the two full-term infants, tests showed that Zika virus was present in the brain. Genetic sequence analysis showed that the virus in the four cases was the same as the Zika virus strain currently circulating in Brazil.  All four mothers reported having experienced a fever and rash illness consistent with Zika virus disease (Zika) during their pregnancies.

Locally acquired Zika was reported for the first time in Brazil in May 2015, and the virus has since been reported in 14 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean:  Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

According to Brazilian health authorities, more than 3,500 microcephaly cases were reported in Brazil between October 2015 and January 2016.  Some of the affected infants have had a severe type of microcephaly and some have died.  The full spectrum of outcomes that might be associated with infection during pregnancy and the factors that might increase risk to the fetus are not yet fully understood. Health authorities in Brazil, with assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, CDC, and other agencies, have been investigating the possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in infants. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

In the past, outbreaks of Zika virus infection have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.  Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Other commonly reported symptoms include myalgia, headache, and pain behind the eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low. Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in patients with probable Zika virus infection in French Polynesia and Brazil. . Research efforts will also examine the link between Zika and GBS.

For more information about Zika:

Information about microcephaly

Information for travelers:

Information for health care providers:

Coast Guard Continues Search for 12 – Marine Members Identified

As the search for 12 Marine aviators off the North Shore of Oahu enters its second day the Coast Guard and partner agencies have expanded the search along the North Shore from Waianae to Kahuku, extending out to sea eight miles.

As of 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2016, graphic of combined searches conducted by surface assets (ships, boats and jet ski teams) involved in joint search efforts to locate and rescue 12 Marine aviators involved in an aircraft accident off Oahu's North Shore late night Jan. 14, 2016. Coast Guard search and rescue planners use a variety of systems to plan and coordinate searches. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu/Released)

As of 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2016, graphic of combined searches conducted by surface assets (ships, boats and jet ski teams) involved in joint search efforts to locate and rescue 12 Marine aviators involved in an aircraft accident off Oahu’s North Shore late night Jan. 14, 2016. Coast Guard search and rescue planners use a variety of systems to plan and coordinate searches. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Coast Guard Command Center Honolulu/Released)

“We’d like to reiterate to the public to use caution along the north and west shores of Oahu as the search continues. Debris should be treated as hazardous material,” said Lt. Scott Carr, Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer. “Anyone sighting debris is asked to report it to the Marines at 808-257-8458 or 808-257-3023.”

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew taxis for takeoff at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, Jan. 16, 2016. The Dolphin crew is participating in the second day of search efforts to locate and rescue 12 Marine aviators involved in an aircraft accident off Oahu's North Shore late night Jan. 14, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew taxis for takeoff at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, Jan. 16, 2016. The Dolphin crew is participating in the second day of search efforts to locate and rescue 12 Marine aviators involved in an aircraft accident off Oahu’s North Shore late night Jan. 14, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

As of 8 a.m. Saturday morning responders have conducted 22 individual searches covering more than 5,000 sq. nautical miles (5,750 sq. miles). Responders continued the search throughout the night and on scene today are:

Aircraft: Surface assets: Shoreline:
-MH-65 Dolphin helicopter
-Navy P-3 Orion
-Navy H-60 helicopter
-Army H-60 helicopter
-Honolulu Fire Department helicopter
-Honolulu Police Department helicopter
-(2) Navy warships
-Coast Guard Cutters Ahi and Kiska
-(2) Ocean Safety jet ski teams
-(7) 10-person shoreline search teams
-Incident Command Post team Honolulu
-Incident Command Post team Haleiwa
-MSST Honolulu personnel in Haleiwa
Harbor alerting mariners to safety zone
and public safety concerns

Coast Guard watchstanders in Honolulu received notification of two possible downed military helicopters each reportedly with six personnel aboard late Thursday evening prompting the joint search effort.

Weather conditions are reportedly 8 to 12 mph winds, 13 foot swells with surf up to 20-feet and scattered showers. A high surf advisory for Oahu’s North Shore remains in effect through Saturday evening. A small craft advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service and is in effect for all of the Main Hawaiian Islands through Sunday morning.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Marine Corps.

The missing Marines have been identified as:

  • Maj. Shawn M. Campbell, 41, College Station, Texas.
  • Capt. Brian T. Kennedy, 31, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Capt. Kevin T. Roche, 30, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Capt. Steven R. Torbert, 29, Florence, Alabama.
  • Sgt. Dillon J. Semolina, 24,Chaska, Minnesota.
  • Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, 25, Gardners, Pennsylvania.
  • Sgt. Jeffrey A. Sempler, 22, Woodruff, South Carolina.
  • Sgt. William J. Turner, 25, Florala, Alabama.
  • Cpl. Matthew R. Drown, 23, Spring, Texas.
  • Cpl. Thomas J. Jardas, 22, Fort Myers, Florida.
  • Cpl. Christopher J. Orlando, 23, Hingham, Massachusetts.
  • Lance Cpl. Ty L. Hart, 21, Aumsville, Oregon.

Meet Celebrity Chef Sam Choy at the 11th Annual Building & Design Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will hold its 11th annual Building & Design Expo February 12 – 14 at the Keauhou Convention Center at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will make a special appearance and demonstrate his cooking skills all three days of the Expo.

Building and Design Expo 2016

Friday evening the expo is open to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday expo hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Visit numerous exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating; fine art; windows and doors; flooring and window treatments; kitchen and baths, home energy products and more. The booths will present products, services and information relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Enter to win giveaways and drawings at vendor booths.

Attendees can also enter to win a grand prize: a 2-night stay at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

For additional information regarding the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Building & Design Expo, go to www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 329-1758.

Hawaii Department of Health Receives Confirmation of Zika Infection in Baby Born with Microcephaly

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has received laboratory confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a past Zika virus infection in a baby recently born with microcephaly in a hospital on Oahu. The mother likely had Zika infection when she was residing in Brazil in May 2015 and her newborn acquired the infection in the womb. Neither the baby nor the mother are infectious, and there was never a risk of transmission in Hawaii.

microcephaly“We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn,” said DOH State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “This case further emphasizes the importance of the CDC travel recommendations released today. Mosquitos can carry serious diseases, as we know too well with our current dengue outbreak and it is imperative that we all Fight the Bite by reducing mosquito breeding areas, avoiding places with mosquitoes, and applying repellant as needed.”

To date, there have been no cases of Zika virus acquired in Hawaii. Since 2014, the department has identified six persons in the state who acquired their infection in another country. Physicians are required to report all suspected cases of Zika virus and more than 75 other reportable diseases in the state.

Physician reporting is crucial to conducting an effective disease surveillance program in Hawaii. “In this situation, an astute Hawaii physician recognized the possible role of Zika virus infection, immediately notified the Department of Health, and worked with us to confirm the suspected diagnosis,” said Dr. Park. “We rely on our exceptional medical community to be our eyes and ears in the field to control and prevent the spread of illness in Hawaii.”

The department sent a Medical Advisory to physicians statewide today as a reminder that while Zika virus is not endemic in the U.S., it can be acquired in a number of countries and travel history should always be considered.

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.

For more information on Zika virus go to http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ and for CDC travel
recommendations, go to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.