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Addressing the Zika Crisis

The Zika epidemic is a growing and evolving global health emergency that has already spread to more than 45 countries, including U.S. territories and the continental U.S.1 Healthcare professionals are working rapidly to identify solutions for those impacted, and while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking the virus, it is not able to predict how much Zika will spread in the continental U.S.
 
“A challenge like Zika requires every organization to bring forward their resources and expertise to manage health risks that exist for people in affected areas of the country,” said Sally Susman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Inc. “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the CDC Foundation and healthcare professionals to address today’s health needs while work continues to identify longer-term solutions.”
 
To that end, through the Pfizer Foundation*, Pfizer has donated funding to support surveillance, prevention and educational efforts surrounding Zika in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico and Latin America.  
 
Spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.2 Infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an unusually small head, often accompanied by brain damage.2 Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.2
 
“A challenge like Zika requires every organization to bring forward their resources and expertise to manage health risks that exist for people in affected areas of the country."
Pfizer’s contribution includes a $1 million grant from the Pfizer Foundation to the CDC Foundation and an in-kind donation of up to 170,000 doses of our long-acting contraceptive product, to the CDC Foundation’s Zika Contraception Access Network (Z-CAN) initiative in Puerto Rico from Pfizer Inc. 
 
In Florida and Texas, where the priority is screening and diagnosis, the Foundation provided $1 million each to the Florida Department of Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Florida, the grant will be used to purchase essential screening equipment, as well as to support public educational and prevention efforts. In Texas, the grant will be used to support prevention efforts, mosquito eradication and lab testing, if needed. In addition, Pfizer sales representatives will deliver critical health information to ensure physicians, office managers and nurses are receiving resources provided by public health authorities.
 
Additional grant recipients include the Pan-American Health Organization Foundation and Population Services International. The Pfizer Foundation has provided $1 million to the Pan-American Health Organization to develop a sustainable surveillance model to enhance response efforts to the Zika virus across Latin America and the Caribbean. This effort will inform a comprehensive research agenda (entomological, biological, environmental, social) and a resource mobilization plan. We have provided $100,000 to Population Services International to support the production of Safe Pregnancy Kits in response to the Zika epidemic in Latin America. These kits will be provided to women of reproductive age at ante-natal visits to increase awareness and prevention of the virus. 
 
Pfizer is committed to responding quickly to the Zika crisis by offering resources and expertise in areas where we know we can be of greatest benefit. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to identify longer-term solutions. 
References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Case Counts in the US.” Accessed Sept. 23, 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html. (link is external).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Zika Virus Overview.” Accessed Sept. 23, 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/overview.html. (link is external).
*The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc with distinct legal restrictions.