As 13 cases of Zika are reported in Kansas, threat of the disease spreading has become a present fear in the minds of citizens. Luckily, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has received funding from the Center for Disease Control through three grants, which total $1.2 million.
Zika is a disease that spreads through mosquitoes that have been infected by the disease. Once in a human’s bloodstream, it can be passed from person to person through sexual intercourse, from a pregnant woman to her fetus or through a blood transfusion. The disease can cause a brain defect during pregnancy that can affect the vision and hearing of the infected fetus, as well as impair growth and can lead to an abnormally shaped skull.
Symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent transmission of Zika is to stay in places with window and door screens, air conditioning and mosquito netting. If you have to go outside, it is best to wear long clothing or insect repellent.
To prevent the spread of the disease sexually, use condoms or refrain from sexual intercourse.
The three grants offered will cover three different areas of the disease. The Public Health Preparedness and Response Cooperative Agreement for All-Hazards Public Health Emergencies was awarded July 1. The Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Program for Infectious Diseases – Zika virus and arboviral disease component was awarded on Aug. 1. The Surveillance, Intervention and Referral to Services Activities for infants with Microcephaly or other Adverse Outcomes Linked with Zika was awarded on Aug. 2.
According to Cassie Sparks, public information officer from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the funds provided will help the KDHE in many ways, including supporting laboratory clinical diagnostic testing, enhancing mosquito surveillance, and providing implemental larval surveillance in five Kansas communities.
This grant will also help keep track of the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, which collaborates with the state, local and territorial health departments to collect information about pregnancy and infant outcomes in cases in which evidence of Zika has appeared. In addition, the grant will provide better surveillance of children through referral to services, data analyses and reporting.
More ways in which the grant will help Kansas citizens include increased education, awareness and partnership development among health care providers, creating mass media and communications awareness and educational campaigns for the public. It will also support prevention education to reduce the occurrences of the virus among pregnant women and refer families to services that will help them when children are born to Zika-infected women.
For more information on the use of the grants, please visit www.kdheks.gov.