Current Events

Zika Virus

In May 2015, Brazil reported the first outbreak of Zika virus in the Americas. Although the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Brazil is concerned about a possible association between the Zika virus outbreak and increased numbers of babies born with microcephaly:

In December 2015, a locally transmitted case of Zika virus infection was detected in Puerto Rico. This is the first case of Zika virus in Puerto Rico. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Puerto Rico have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to humans. Locally transmitted Zika has not been reported elsewhere in the United States, but cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers.

Healthcare providers are encouraged to report suspected cases of Zika virus infection to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and to the patient’s local health. Zika virus testing is performed at the CDC Arbovirus Diagnostic Laboratory. Please contact the Epidemiology and Emerging Infections Program at the Connecticut DPH to report suspected cases and to facilitate testing (860-509-7994).

When you call the DPH, please ask for the infectious disease epidemiologist on call and be prepared to: provide basic demographic information, describe the patient’s travel history, and describe the patient’s presenting symptoms, signs, and duration of illness.

If you have anymore information, please contact Claudine Constant (


An educated, aware staff is an empowered staff. Here are some links to help keep everyone up to date on the current situation

*NEW 6/21/2016* Official CDC Health Update – CDC Recommendations for Subsequent Zika IgM Antibody Testing

Testing for Zika virus infection is now available commercially. This update includes information on what kind of testing commercial laboratories can provide, when testing should be done and the testing procedure.

• Interim Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus – United States, 2016

CDC has updated its interim guidelines for U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women during a Zika virus outbreak. This update also expands guidance to women of reproductive age who reside in areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.

• Update: Interim Guidelines for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women and Women of Reproductive Age with Possible Zika Virus Exposure – United States, 2016

Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, and is of particular concern during pregnancy. Current information about possible sexual transmission of Zika is based on reports of three cases. This report provides interim recommendations for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus.


Zika Virus in Puerto Rico

CDC Resources For Health Care Providers:

NEJM article:



July 5, 2016 – PREVAIL treatment trial for men with persistent Ebola viral RNA in semen opens in Liberia (National Institutes of Health)

  • The Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL) has announced a treatment trial for men who survived Ebola but still show evidence of Ebola RNA in their semen. The study will enroll 60 to 120 Ebola survivors.

On December 29, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Guinea free of Ebola virus transmission after 42 days had passed since the last patient with Ebola tested laboratory-negative twice. The last country with widespread Ebola virus transmission, Guinea now enters 90 days of heightened surveillance for Ebola (



An educated, aware staff is an empowered staff. Here are some links to help keep everyone up to date on the current situation:

Fear spreads much faster than any virus ever could. Help your patients get the information they need with the following resources:

Infection Control

Effective infection control has a lot of moving parts – polices and protocols, trained staff, supplies/equipment, and environmental hygiene to name a few. Below are some links to help you build upon the existing infection control efforts you are currently employing.    Signage:              


   Personal Protective Equipment:

   Environmental Infection Control:

Organizational Preparedness. These resources help pull all the efforts together, allow health centers to assess current plans, and focus activities on soft spots found in organizational preparedness:

Seasonal Preparedness Tools

Program Overview

The Community Health Center Association of Connecticut (CHCACT) collaborates with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement a comprehensive Emergency Management Planning Program through the Community Health Centers (CHCs) across the state. The goal of the program is to increase the level of preparedness at every health center through staff training, infrastructure enhancement, and live drills. CHCACT convenes with the CHCs, the state, and other community partners to provide a forum for education, communication, and sharing. The group, called the Community Health Emergency Response Network (CHERN), meets quarterly. CHERN members take what they have learned at the quarterly meetings back to their centers and integrate it into the ongoing emergency preparedness activities at their individual centers. In addition, they serve as the “resident experts” for the identification of training and technical assistance needs of their center. CHCACT and its members have been actively involved in Connecticut’s emergency preparedness efforts, including working with government agencies, such as the DPH, the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), and other public health providers, including Connecticut’s hospitals. CHCACT and its CHERN members play an important role in the ongoing evolution of the nation’s emergency response system; an organized community health response during times of natural or human-made emergencies is essential for the health of the underserved populations in our nation. For more information contact Rashad Collins ( or Domina DiBiase (