This e-mail is being sent as part of a temporary series of messages to deliver Zika-related information during peak mosquito season in Indian Country. 
September 8, 2017
MYTHZika Myth of the Week
Myth: Microcephaly is the only problem Zika can cause for a fetus if the mother is infected during pregnancy. 

This is a myth and is not correct!

Left to right: Babies with typical head size, microcephaly, and severe microcephaly
Image from CDC

Truth: Many people have heard of microcephaly in connection with Zika virus. It's true that microcephaly is one possible result of Zika infection during pregnancy. Babies with microcephaly have much smaller heads than expected. Sometimes this is linked to other problems, such as seizures or developmental delays. Although microcephaly can be caused by Zika, there are also babies born with microcephaly for other reasons.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause Congenital Zika Syndrome, a pattern of birth defects that may include: 
  • Severe microcephaly with partially collapsed skull
  • Seizures
  • Feeding problems or swallowing difficulty
  • Decreased brain tissue 
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to the back of the eye 
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Joints with limited range of motion
  • Too much muscle tone and restricted movement
Therefore, although microcephaly may be the best known side effect, Zika can cause a variety of severe birth defects. Since Zika is so new, some other effects of Zika may still be unknwon. 
Zika 101Zika101

Learn the TOP FIVE things everyone should know about Zika  HERE
NIHB Resources
Learn more about Tribal Zika Response and Planning at the NIHB Zika Hub

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In This Newsletter

Zika News
-Zika and brain cancer

Webinars, Trainings, Events
Zika Information

HarveyAdditional Information About Hurricanes and Zika
In the  9/1 Zika newsletter last week, we shared a news article about Hurricane Harvey and how hurricanes can increase mosquito populations. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently posted a page called " Mosquitoes & Hurricanes" with additional information about this concern. 

After Hurricane Katrina, there was a slight increase in cases of West Nile Virus (another mosquito-borne disease carried by a different type of mosquitoes than those transmitting Zika). Spending more time outdoors cleaning up after a natural disaster can also lead to an increase in mosquito bites. 

Hurricanes and flooding initially kill adult mosquitoes and wash away larvae, so mosquito populations temporarily drop. Within a couple weeks, however, mosquito populations will then increase. 

Most of the additional mosquitoes cause annoyance only and will not spread disease. However, it is still recommended to take preventive measures to protect against Zika virus, to prevent mosquito bites, and to take steps to control mosquitoes in and around residences. 

Learn more HERE
BedNetsHow to Use Bed Nets 

Image from CDC

To protect against mosquito bites, it is recommended to sleep in a room with air conditioning or screens if possible.  When air conditioning is unavailable, ideally, screens provide protection day and night. The types of mosquitoes that carry Zika virus bite day and night, although they are typically more active during the day. Learn more about installing screens in the 8/11 Zika newsletter's prevention section, found  HERE  

If screens are also unavailable, bed nets are an alternative.   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend considering bed nets to help protect against mosquito bites if there are open, unscreened doors or windows in the bedrooms where people sleep. 

If screens are unavailable and windows must remain open, bed nets can help prevent mosquito bites. Bed nets hang over a crib or bed as shown in the image below. In order to provide mosquito protection, they should be tucked under the mattress or should hang down to the floor. It is important to tuck the nets tightly to avoid choking hazards for small children. Nets can also be tied or attached to other nearby objects if they sag inward towards the sleeping person. Always check to make sure that the nets provide full coverage, since mosquitoes can enter through holes or tears.  Be careful not to hang the net near open flame or anything such as cigarettes that can cause the net to catch on fire. This is very dangerous. It is also important not to sleep directly against the net, since mosquitoes can bite through the small mesh if they are able to reach the person's body. For additional protection, bed nets can also be treated with permethrin.

If you need help finding a bed net, check with local stores selling outdoor or camping equipment. You can also search or order online. Please email NIHB if you need additional assistance. 
Zika News
BrainCancerZika and Brain Cancer
Unlike most diseases, Zika virus can enter the brain and attack stem cells. This is the reason that Zika can cause neurological problems in developing babies. Many brain cancers are caused by mutant stem cells growing uncontrollably. These cancers may also be extremely deadly even with treatment. 

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have found that Zika virus does not attack normal adult brain tissue in a lab setting. However, the study found that Zika does attack and kill cancer stem cells. It is rare to hear (potentially) good news about this virus which has caused so much harm to families and communities, but this study suggests that Zika virus could also be used to treat cancer. 

More research is needed to determine how this would work in a living human being. However, it is very likely that the benefits would outweigh the risks, as brain cancer is a very serious, deadly illness and Zika is usually a mild disease in adults. More research is also needed to determine if the treatment could be administered safely without spreading the virus to others, including pregnant women whose babies could be at risk of serious harm from Zika infection. This may mean that the Zika virus would need to be modified before being used as a treatment in the Americas. Since the mosquitoes that spread Zika do not live in the United Kingdom, researchers at the University of Cambridge are considering the possibility of testing Zika as-is in the UK. 

Read a New Scientist article about this topic HERE
 Webinars, Trainings, Events
SHAREShare your ideas: if there are other Zika-related topics you would like to learn more about in the future, please email NIHB HERE
Is there something you would like to learn more about? NIHB may use ideas for upcoming webinars or newsletters. NIHB can also provide technical assistance related to Zika planning. Email NIHB HERE