Peggy Honein, Director of the CDC’s Division of Congenital & Developmental Disorders, details her team’s efforts to research and prevent new cases of the Zika virus, and how they built an outbreak information-gathering system.
While the dangers of the Zika virus haven’t gone away since the recent outbreak’s first case in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control have worked tirelessly to reduce the illness’ effectiveness. Peggy Honein, Director of the CDC’s Division of Congenital & Developmental Disorders, quickly set up a system to gather all the information they could find about the outbreak, and help them research it. For their efforts, Honein and her team are nominated for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medal. “In January of 2016, CDC activated its emergency operations center and we started working very closely with states across the US and territories who were getting mostly travel associated cases at that point. We worked closely with the states that had the most travelers coming in from South America, Central America and the Caribbean… and started collecting information on pregnant women who had laboratory evidence of Zika to understand whether there could be a causal link between Zika and this microcephaly.”