State Health Officials Urged to Get Ready Now for Zika in US

Posted at 9:16 PM, Apr 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-01 17:20:02-04

ATLANTA (AP) - The government is urging health officials around the country to prepare now for any possible outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the U.S. this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted about 300 state and local officials at a "Zika Summit" on Friday at the agency's headquarters in Atlanta.

A Zika epidemic has been sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean. Officials think it's likely some small clusters of Zika will occur in the U.S. when mosquito numbers boom.

The virus causes only a mild and brief illness, at worst, in most people. But infections in pregnant women have been linked to a brain defect and fetal deaths.

There have been about 300 cases of Zika in the U.S. - all linked to travel to outbreak areas.