Zika

Photo by Dr. Karen Orellana

The recent emergence and rapid spread of the Zika virus presents a grave, new challenge for health systems and practitioners across the Zika-affected regions, as they work to address the unique health needs and concerns of individuals and families affected by the epidemic.

Zika is spread primarily through the Aedes mosquito – the same species of mosquito that spreads dengue and chikungunya – but the virus can also be transmitted via sexual contact. Common symptoms of Zika for an otherwise healthy adult include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache, lasting up to a week.

However, most concerning for health workers is that Zika is passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy. While the symptoms for an adult are mild, Zika infection during pregnancy can have grave consequences for the growing fetus. Zika infection during pregnancy has been linked to an increase in birth defects across the Zika-affected regions, particularly a serious birth defect called microcephaly, which results in unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns.

As part of the Zika virus epidemic emergency response, ASSIST is providing intensive assistance to the Ministry of Health in five countries – the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Activities supported include: conducting a baseline assessment of the quality of Zika-related care, revising Zika-related clinical guidelines, training health care providers on counseling skills, improving Zika-related clinical processes, conducting face-to-face and virtual courses on Zika-related health care, implementing a Zika quality improvement program, and cultivating a Zika community of practice to rapidly scale up learning across all affected countries.

To learn more about our work improving care in Zika, read this overview and explore our Zika resources and publications below.

In addition to the resources provided here, ASSIST maintains a website in Spanish with exclusively Zika-related content: www.maternoinfantil.org/zika.

Dominican Republic Gender Analysis: A study of the impact of the Zika virus on women, girls, boys and men

The USAID ASSIST Project works in the Dominican Republic and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to add quality Zika services to existing antenatal care, postpartum, and family planning services. The current outbreak of Zika virus in the Dominican Republic is having severe consequences on the lives and health of thousands of people.

WEBINAR: Servicios de anticoncepción en el contexto Zika en América Latina ¿a la altura del reto? (in SPANISH)

Online

Los servicios de anticoncepción, cuando son accesibles y de calidad, evitan que las mujeres con riesgo de tener Zika, que no deseen embarazarse, corran el riesgo de tener hijos con síndrome congénito fetal.

Este seminario web discutirá los retos y logros que viven los servicios de salud públicos de la Región de América Latina y el Caribe sobre la anticoncepción, con énfasis en la demanda en el contexto de la epidemia Zika, y las respuestas de los países y comunidad internacional.

How a rash can turn into something so devastating: Zika’s effects on babies

Vicky Ramirez

Consultant, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

Andrew Gall

Improvement Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

In 4 out of 5 people, a Zika infection will have zero signs. In some, it can trigger mild symptoms such as a rash and conjunctivitis, but for a fetus—it can affect him for the rest of his life.

Pages