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Zika Local Health Department Initiative


To help local health departments respond to the Zika virus outbreak, CDC launched the Zika Local Health Department (LHD) Initiative. The LHD Initiative places field assignees in local health departments responding to Zika virus in order to build the capacity to

  • Provide educational outreach about Zika virus to healthcare providers and community members;
  • Monitor pregnant women and infants affected by Zika virus;
  • Report Zika virus infection data to the appropriate state health agency and CDC; and
  • Refer women, infants, and families affected by Zika virus to additional services, as needed.

Field assignees are people with expertise in public health who are placed in the local health department to help respond to local needs regarding Zika virus infection.

Key Features

There are 5 goals of the LHD Initiative:

  • To strengthen collaboration between public health and healthcare providers
  • To provide a skilled person to help LHDs meet the needs of their communities
  • To mobilize the maternal and child health (MCH) community to collaborate with CDC, partner organizations, field assignees, and local and state health departments
  • To engage partner organizations to support sharing knowledge, skills, and expertise
  • To use CDC resources to support field assignees in addressing the needs of mothers and infants


The Initiative is intended to support LHDs and communities by doing the following activities:

  • Expand educational outreach to healthcare providers
  • Improve outreach and education to community members
  • Increase the number of healthcare providers who follow Zika virus testing guidance and follow-up infants potentially affected by Zika virus
  • Support collection of clinical data on pregnant women and infants affected by Zika virus
  • Connect families affected by Zika virus to services

If these activities are accomplished, the Initiative will result in the following:

  • Better monitoring of pregnant women and infants affected by Zika virus
  • Better understanding of the health effects of Zika virus among pregnant women and infants
  • More healthcare providers conducting appropriate testing and follow-up of pregnant women and infants potentially affected by Zika virus
  • More families affected by Zika virus referred to needed services
  • Increased capacity for LHDs to respond to Zika virus and future emergencies alongside MCH and clinical providers