Mulroe, Senate Public Health committee talk Zika

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CHICAGO – The Senate Public Health committee today held a subject matter hearing on the impact and threat of the Zika virus on the population of Illinois. The chairman of the committee is State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).

The Zika virus is a virus primarily transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. However, the risk of infection in Illinois is low due the specific species of mosquito’s inability to survive the colder Illinois winter climate.

“While the threat of Zika is very real, the intention of this hearing was to have an open and honest discussion of that threat to the people of Illinois,” said Mulroe. “I want to commend the members of the panel who spoke to day, lending their experience and knowledge, while discussing the steps that Illinois can take to avoid outbreak.”

Zika virus does not affect 80% of the population who contract it; however, serious side effects can be seen in certain populations. Microcephaly is noted as a side effect in newborn babies whose mothers became infected and the development of Guillian-Barré syndrome is also possible.

The hearing was also attended by members of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Department of Public Health, Kendall County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Public Health Association.

IDPH has developed the Zika Virus Action plan to address the threat of the virus. There is not currently a cure, but preventative measures can be taken including not traveling to an infected region or practicing safe sex with a condom.