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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2016 04:02 PM
From: Representative Florindo J. Fabrizio
To: All House members
Subject: "Zika Virus Awareness Month" in Pennsylvania
In the near future I plan to introduce a resolution recognizing February 2016 as “Zika Virus Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

A relative new mosquito-borne virus is prompting worldwide concern because of an alarming connection to a neurological birth disorder and the rapid spread of the virus across the globe.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 31 people have been diagnosed with Zika in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those 31 contracted it outside the US. For the most part, symptoms are either mild or non-existent for people other than pregnant women. In rare cases, there may be a link to Guillen-Barre syndrome, a condition that affects the central nervous system. Pregnant women who contract Zika are at risk of having children with microcephaly; an abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development. Zika is spread by mosquitos and currently, has not been spread from person to person. The concern here is that it can be spread from a person to a mosquito and then to other people. The specific type of mosquito that spreads the virus is Aedes aegypti, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya. Unlike most mosquitos, it feeds during the day, which makes it particularly problematic.

Due to the rapid spread of this virus and the health problems it is causing, WHO has declared a “public health emergency of international concern.” The declaration is intended to facilitate international coordination of tracking, research and response to the virus and its effects.

While there is no vaccine or treatment for this virus, researches are hard at work in laboratories around the world trying to create a Zika vaccine and clinical trials could begin this year, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

In the meantime, the CDC has recommended to all those traveling to a country where Zika is present, strict adherence mosquito protection measures: Use an EPA-approved repellent over sunscreen, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts thick enough to block a mosquito bite, and sleep in air-conditioned, screened rooms, among others.

Please join me in recognizing February 2016 as “Zika Virus Awareness Month” as we work together to support global, Federal and State efforts to promote awareness and prevention of the Zika virus and the development of treatments, vaccines and an eventual cure for Zika.

Introduced as HR694