Zika virus is an arbovirus, meaning that it is an insect vector-borne disease, most commonly transmitted through Aedes (aegypti and albopictus) mosquitoes. Zika virus can also be transmitted through exposure to infected blood or sexual contact. Less commonly, Zika can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.
Zika is endemic to parts of Africa and Asia, but over in recent months, between 400,000 and 1.3 million cases have been discovered across South, Central, and North America, where the disease was previously unknown.
Zika Virus Explained
The number of cases and the locations of the outbreak qualifies Zika as an international health emergency.
Direct Relief’s Response
Because no Zika vaccine exists yet, the response to the outbreak involves stepped-up public health efforts, including vector control of mosquitoes, public awareness, staff training, and development of treatment protocols.
Direct Relief is in close communication with public health officials and facilities in 14 countries throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States.
To date, Direct Relief has fulfilled requests for contraceptives, pain medication, and insect repellent in the U.S., Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Argentina, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Paraguay and Micronesia.
Direct Relief’s Zika Fund
Anticipating further requests, Direct Relief has established a Zika Fund with an initial commitment of $100,000, towards which private contributions may be designated. 100% of contributions to the fund will be used to support healthcare facilities in Zika-affected areas, with particular focus on the following measures:
Zika funds will be used to boost support to partner organizations providing care in Zika-affected areas, with particular emphasis on the following measures:
- Providing and pre- and postnatal resources needed for safe deliveries and to support care for newborns.
- Distributing requested supplies such as insect repellent, IV solutions, medications for fever reduction and pain relief, and contraceptives.
- Providing general in-kind and financial support to alleviating the strain placed on local health facilities by a surge in patients.
To support Direct Relief’s efforts to stop the Zika Virus, click here.