Capitol Connection: What is Connecticut Doing about Zika Virus?

February 29, 2016

From the Office of State Senator Kevin Witkos

Over the past few months many questions have been raised about Zika virus, which has been declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization.


Its suspected link to birth defects and its transmission through mosquitos has people all over the world, including in Connecticut, concerned about the disease spreading. While Connecticut is far away from the epicenter of the outbreak, that does not mean we are out of harm’s way.

A few weeks ago, I reached out to the Commissioner of the state Department of Public Health to get some answers about what our state is doing to prevent and prepare for Zika virus.

Here’s what they shared:

  • Governor Malloy has directed the Department of Public Health (DPH) to take a lead role in the State Mosquito Management Program response to this emerging health threat. The first step taken by DPH was to add Zika virus to the state’s official lists of reportable diseases and laboratory findings needed for surveillance.
  • DPH has also created a draft Zika Virus Surveillance and Response Plan. This plan includes a multi-agency collaborative to monitor and respond to mosquito-borne infectious diseases. The plan also involves establishing surveillance methods for the disease and mosquito population through trapping, lab testing, medical care procedures and education for the public on how to avoid contracting the disease. The plan also includes a series of steps for controlling the mosquito population if any cases do appear in the state.
  • The state has made instructions available online for health care providers who may need to request laboratory testing for their patients.
  • DPH conducted a statewide conference call for local directors of health on February 18, sent information directly to obstetricians by email, and sent press releases to media outlets.
  • DPH has also created a Zika virus page on its website. This site includes information for residents and medical professionals. It is a featured link on the DPH homepage

I think the state is doing a good job getting ahead of this issue with a prevention-focused plan. The Dept. of Public Health is also right to urge caution. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you’ve recently traveled, talk to your doctor or health care provider. Most importantly, it’s always smart to actively avoid mosquito bites.

Have more questions? Visit to learn more.

Sen. Witkos, Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, represents the 8th District towns of Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury and Torrington. For more information visit or