Gov. Malloy and Dept. of Public Health Unveil Springtime Awareness Campaign Aimed at Travelers Heading to Areas Affected by Zika Virus
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino today announced the launch of a new springtime public awareness campaign aimed at warning travelers heading to the Caribbean and other areas where the Zika virus is being actively transmitted about the risk of contracting the virus. Television and radio ads in both English and Spanish that target college students on spring break and other travelers began airing statewide and online on February 27 and will run through the end of March.
“We want to continue to ensure that all Connecticut residents understand what they need to do to protect themselves from the Zika virus, particularly as we begin the springtime travel season,” Governor Malloy said. “We know that we will see more cases here in our region as the weather begins to get warmer, and it is essential for people to take precautions when traveling to regions impacted by the virus.”
“Every case of Zika we have seen in Connecticut thus far has been travel-related and with the spring break season upon us, what better time to bring people’s attention back to protecting themselves against the virus,” Commissioner Pino said. “Many prime spring break destinations for college students and others are in areas where Zika is being actively transmitted. We want to ensure that students and other travelers have a fun, relaxing, and memorable time on their break, but we want it to be memorable for the right reasons.”
The 30-second spring break public service announcement videos are currently being run on Facebook, Google, Pandora, and YouTube, and are specifically geo-targeted to the five largest college campuses in the state. The ads will also begin airing on network television early next week. Audio versions are currently running on WKSS/iHeartRadio, WZMX, WPRX, and WRMQ.
In Connecticut, DPH began surveillance for the Zika virus on February 15, 2016. No locally acquired cases have been reported – every positive case in the state has been related to travel.
As of Tuesday, March 7, a total of 1,365 patients have been tested for Zika virus in Connecticut. Of those, 111 patients, including six pregnant women have tested positive for Zika virus. An additional 52 patients, including 41 pregnant woman, have tested positive for Flavivirus, a related class of viruses that include Zika, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus. Of the 163 total Zika or Flavivirus positive patients, the majority contracted the virus while in Puerto Rico (44), the Dominican Republic (37), Jamaica (18), Guatemala (10) and Haiti (10).
A complete listing of the countries/territories visited by patients testing positive as well as other related data on DPH’s surveillance can be found on the department’s Zika Virus Statistics webpage.
DPH is also monitoring 59 babies either born or currently residing in Connecticut to mothers who had tested positive for Zika virus or Flavivirus during their pregnancies or whose mothers lived in Zika affected areas during the first or second trimesters of their pregnancies. Of the 59 live births currently being monitored by DPH, three babies have been confirmed with Zika-related birth defects and another eight babies were borderline for birth defects. DPH is also monitoring an additional ten women who are still pregnant with laboratory evidence of confirmed Zika virus or Flavivirus.