Zika Virus in the Western Hemisphere: CRS Products

August 18, 2016 (R44595)


In late 2015, health officials in Brazil saw a spike in the number of infants born with microcephaly, a birth defect that may be associated with significant, permanent brain damage. The increase in microcephaly was later linked to prenatal infection with the Zika virus (ZIKV), which appears to have emerged in Brazil early in 2015. ZIKV has spread from South America into Central America and the Caribbean. Puerto Rico has been hard hit, with more than 6,500 locally transmitted (i.e., mosquito-borne) infections reported to date. In late July 2016, local transmission of ZIKV was reported for the first time on the U.S. mainland, in Miami, FL, and case counts surged in Puerto Rico. On August 12, 2016, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the situation in Puerto Rico to be a public health emergency, allowing more flexibility to hire workers for education, outreach, and mosquito control.

Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, through sexual transmission, from mother to fetus, or through blood transfusion from an infected person. No vaccine or specific treatment is available. Most Zika infections are mild. However, rare but serious neurologic disorders may occur in anyone who is infected. Due to the substantial risk of birth defects, protecting pregnant women from ZIKV infection is a public health priority.

CRS has several products that address issues associated with the ZIKV outbreak, as well as prevention and control efforts. Please contact the authors of the individual reports listed below for additional information on these issues.

Experts List

CRS Report R44385, Zika Virus: CRS Experts, by [author name scrubbed].

Budget and Appropriations

CRS Report R44460, Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action, coordinated by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Recorded Event WRE00136, FY2017 International Affairs Budget: Issues for Congress, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed].

CRS In Focus IF10131, U.S. Global Health Assistance: FY2014-FY2017 Request, by [author name scrubbed].

Mosquito Control

CRS In Focus IF10439, Mosquito Control in the United States, by [author name scrubbed] and Grant D. Clinkingbeard.

CRS In Focus IF10401, Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes: A Vector Control Technology for Reducing Zika Virus Transmission, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS In Focus IF10353, Mosquitoes, Zika Virus, and Transmission Ecology, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL32884, Pesticide Use and Water Quality: Are the Laws Complementary or in Conflict?, by [author name scrubbed].

Country Reports

CRS Report R44545, Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: U.S. Policy Considerations, coordinated by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report R44575, The 2016 Olympic Games: Health, Security, Environmental, and Doping Issues, coordinated by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Insight IN10471, Brazil in Crisis, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL33456, Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS In Focus IF10430, Panama: Political and Economic Situation and U.S. Relations, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS In Focus IF10407, Dominican Republic, by [author name scrubbed].

Additional Topics

CRS Insight IN10544, Zika Poses New Challenges for Blood Centers, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Insight IN10551, Stafford Act Assistance for Public Health Incidents, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Insight IN10555, The Zika Outbreak Is Declared a Public Health Emergency in Puerto Rico, by [author name scrubbed].

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist in Public Health and Epidemiology ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])