on September 6, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on A Colorado plan for Zika

A Colorado plan for Zika

There’s no reason not to have a Colorado plan for Zika virus. We have watched as the virus has spread across the tropic and sub-tropic areas of Central and South America and the Carribbean.

So why should we care about Zika in Colorado?

One of the most effective functions of government is public health and the prevention of diseases. Look at the historic successes in the prevention of polio, tuberculosis and AIDS. Let’s make sure we apply this success to Zika prevention.

Zika strikes fear in women because it causes microcephaly – small brain development –; in infants. For women, the Zika outbreak means delaying pregnancy or hoping for a good outcome for those who are already pregnant.

Now Zika has made landfall in Florida. And we should closely watch its progress to prevent its establishment in Colorado.

The mosquito that carries the Zika virus doesn’t thrive in Colorado, which would make an extended epidemic unlikely. However, we know that in addition to being spread by mosquito bites, the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact from person to person. Scientists are still studying all the complexities of how people get Zika.

Colorado has a mobile population. We travel – for work and for vacation. We also have a significant military population who are deployed globally.

All of this adds up to Colorado putting together a plan that creates a healthy amount of prevention and assembles a firewall that will protect pregnant women and promote healthy babies. Colorado should be proactive with our public education and outreach, ensuring that health care providers and public health officials statewide can help prevent the spread of Zika. In addition, our state should have a robust testing program, and a support system if there is a Zika virus outbreak in Colorado.

Thanks to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment for setting up a task force to begin the planning process. Ensuring women and children’s health moving forward should be a priority for Colorado.

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