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How Students Can Empower Their Communities to Protect Against Zika

Author: ASPR/OPP Division of Policy and Strategic Planning
Published Date: 5/17/2017 10:29:00 AM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness;

Warm spring temperatures often bring fun outdoor activities for many people across the country. Those warm temperatures also usher in mosquito season and the diseases, like Zika, that some mosquitoes carry. That’s why everyone should take steps to protect against mosquito bites.

Students likely have heard about Zika on the news, social media, or possibly even in school classes over the past year, but they may not know about the potential risk to their own community and what they can do to educate friends, family members, and neighbors about what we can all do to help prevent the spread of this disease, which can have devastating health effects for babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. Zika-carrying mosquitoes are found primarily in states across the south and along the East Coast. Traveling to areas of the country or other countries with Zika-carrying mosquitoes can help the disease spread.

Professionals working with students this summer, either in schools, camps, or other youth-led programs, can provide opportunities for students to reach out to members of their community and help inform others about the risks of Zika and how to guard against the disease. Such activities are great ways to involve students in supporting national health security.

There are simple everyday steps people can take to help their family, friends, and neighborhoods stay mosquito-free this season, and students can help get the word out to others about prevention. That’s exactly what the members of the Florida Keys Junior Medical Reserve Corps did, and the group even made a videoExit Icon describing their work as an example of what students can do to make a difference.

Two female Junior Medical Reserve Corps members 

The CDC has valuable resources you can use to provide knowledge to students, campers, and other youth groups about reducing Zika risk, and, in doing so, prepare them to pass that information along to others in the community:

In helping to educate friends and neighbors about Zika protection this season, young people can strengthen the health of their communities overall, playing a critical role in building our nation’s health security. To learn more about getting involved, visit ASPR’s Community Health Resilience in Action page for guides, brochures, and infographics.


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