New York Zika Plan Will Include ‘Protection Kits’ For Pregnant Women

New York state officials have announced a new plan aimed at preventing the transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus or limiting an outbreak if the virus were to arrive in the area.

Part of the plan involves trapping and testing thousands of mosquitoes in New York for Zika. Specifically, researchers will monitor the Aedes group of mosquitoes, which are the major carriers of the virus in Central and South America, where the virus is currently spreading.

Although scientists have not yet determined if the type of Aedes mosquito in New York can also transmit Zika, researchers plan to trap and test about 60,000 mosquitoes in the region per month, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

New York will also distribute free “Zika protection kits” to pregnant women in regions where the virus might spread, the statement said. These kits include insect repellent, condoms (to prevent the sexual transmission of the virus) and larvicide tablets (that can kill mosquito larvae) to treat standing water. Initially, the will give 20,000 kits to health care providers for distribution to patients.

“The state is taking aggressive action to reduce the risk of Zika transmission in New York,” Cuomo said in the statement. “We have put in place a first-in-the-nation action plan that will work to eliminate Zika at its source, reduce potential transmissions and safeguard expectant mothers against this dangerous disease.”

Although the Zika virus usually causes either mild illness or no symptoms in adults, health officials are concerned about a strong link between infection with the virus during pregnancy and microcephaly in infants. Babies born withmicrocephaly may have an abnormally small head and cognitive impairments. The virus is transmitted primarily by mosquitoes, but there have been cases of sexual transmission as well, and the virus has been found in the semen —> Read More