Four Connecticut residents have contracted Zika virus while traveling in Zika-affected areas overseas and state officials are urging residents, particularly those who are pregnant or might become pregnant, not to travel to infected areas.
Gov. Dannel Malloy, Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino, and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Director Dr. Ted Andreadis held a news conference on Friday to discuss preparedness.
Malloy said Zika is a "national emergency" and he criticized Republicans in Congress for not acting to authorize $2 billion in funds to fight Zika.
Should Congress authorize the funding, Andreadis has put in an application for some of that money, Malloy said. He said it could also go to local organizations for informational efforts and to step up efforts if needed.
In the absence of a vaccine for Zika virus, Andreadis said community involvement is necessary, including eliminating standing water from your property.
"We're not likely to see a vaccine for two years, and that's coming right from the NIH," he said. "So, in the absence of that, it really comes down to local community development to prevent yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes and we're strongly encouraging folks to clean up any artificial containers, get rid of standing water."
Andreadis said the lab in New Haven is conducting research and has Zika virus isolations from mosquitoes and humans from Mexico and Puerto Rico in a containment facility.
"We're doing some work with those viruses right now to see if our local mosquito populations are susceptible," he said. "There's no risk to the public."
Malloy said people who need to travel to affected areas should take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.
"If you're expecting to conceive a child, if that's your desire, this is the time to avoid possible infection," he said.