U.S. develops Zika virus contingency response plan

The federal government’s Zika Virus Disease Contingency Response Plan outlines operational response activities if confirmed local transmission or widespread transmission of Zika occurs in the U.S. and the president determines that enhanced federal coordination is required. The plan also applies to tribal areas, territories and affiliated Pacific islands.

The plan is based on the Department of Health & Human Services Zika Virus Disease Domestic Preparedness and Response Goals and Objectives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zika Virus Action Plan, the CDC Interim Response Plan and the (Draft) Biological Incident Annex to the Response and Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plans. This document is designed to complement and not repeat the actions already outlined in these foundational documents.

The plan lays out three major Zika responses, each with multiple objectives:

  • Minimize the impact on communities affected by the Zika virus.
  • Provide technical and other assistance to affected countries.
  • Conduct unified coordination, communication and information sharing among U.S. government stakeholders.

Report warns of potential shortage of medical isotope

Global supplies of an isotope used in medical diagnostic imaging will fall substantially when a Canadian reactor stops producing it at the end of October, according to a report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Nearly all of the world’s supply of molybdenum-99 is produced by seven research reactors in Australia, Canada, Europe and South Africa. The isotope is distributed through an international supply chain at least weekly because it cannot be stockpiled.

AHA urges Congress to pass funding to fight Zika virus

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is urging congressional leaders to provide $1.1 billion in new funding to combat the Zika virus.

“Now that Zika is locally transmitted in the United States, the challenge we face is preventing the virus from taking permanent hold, not only in Florida, but in half of the country,” AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels wrote. “ … We urge Congress to act now to prevent further transmission. With adequate funding, state and local public health departments would be able to respond with robust mosquito abatement programs, enhanced laboratory, epidemiology, and surveillance capacity and surge capacity through rapid response teams to limit transmission. Funding also would ensure that the development of a vaccine, diagnostic tests and treatments moves forward as quickly as possible.”

As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported 43 locally acquired cases of Zika virus and 2,920 travel-related cases in the U.S. 

HHS updates website on radiation emergency medical management

The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the National Library of Medicine have added new content to their Radiation Emergency Medical Management website, including prototype hospital orders for radiation injury admission. The website provides guidance about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation injury during radiological and nuclear emergencies.