Dear Tribal Leaders:
As you may know, the Zika virus outbreak has grown in size and is attracting interest in the United States and abroad. Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been linked to pregnancy loss and serious birth defects. However, there is still a lot we don’t know. As a result of this emerging public health threat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate the global public health response. Because of the serious health implications of the Zika virus, CDC wants to provide American Indian/Alaska Native tribes, organizations, and communities with the most up-to-date information and, as critical partners, include them in our surveillance and prevention efforts.
To understand more about Zika virus and its effects on pregnancy, CDC established the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry and is collaborating with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to collect and share information about Zika virus infection. This information will help develop a clearer picture of how Zika affects pregnant women and their babies and will also help guide a comprehensive public health response. Because Zika virus is a nationally notifiable disease, CDC encourages tribal healthcare providers to report eligible pregnant women through their health departments.
Information on the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry is available at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/hc-providers/registry.html, and we will answer any questions emailed to ZikaPregnancy@cdc.gov. In addition, resources to help tribal health departments with Zika-related efforts, including communication, laboratory diagnostics, transmission, vector control, support for pregnant women, and tailored documents to assist with preparedness activities, are available at www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html and www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/sctf-resource-menu.pdf.
For more information or questions regarding Zika, please feel free to call the CDC Emergency Operations Center watch desk at (770) 488-7100.
Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH
John M. Auerbach, MBA
Associate Director for Policy
Acting Director, Office for State,
Tribal, Local and Territorial