The March of Dimes volunteers and staff work to influence both legislative and regulatory activities in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - serving as powerful voices for the needs of pregnant women, infants, children and families. Our efforts span the full range of our annual Advocacy & Government Affairs priorities, including access to care, research and surveillance, prevention and education, and issues important to tax-exempt organizations.
View our interactive map to learn more about policy priorities and wins in your state.
In 2017, March of Dimes advocates across the nation are working in states to fight the spread of the Zika virus by supporting policies to fund vector control efforts in local areas likely to breed mosquitoes, working to ensure access to comprehensive services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika, and surveillance to track and measure Zika cases.
Zika virus causes mild, flu-like symptoms that typically get better over time in normal adults. Zika can cause serious problems during pregnancy, including microcephaly, a serious birth defect resulting in small head size and severe brain damage. While Zika is commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, but has also been found to spread through body fluids, like blood or semen. For babies born to mothers infected with Zika without obvious birth defects—such as those present in microcephaly—research is still unclear on future health and developmental complications later in life.
As of July 2017, more than 40,000 cases of Zika infection have been reported in the United States and its territories, including about 200 local transmission cases in Florida and Texas. The most common Zika cases occur when individuals travel to affected areas.
This year, the March of Dimes Arizona successfully advocated to secure funding in the state’s budget for emergency planning and response to public health crises, like Zika outbreaks. In Florida, the March of Dimes secured funding for research and surveillance initiatives, including the Zika Arboviral Disease and Pregnancy Registry.
The March of Dimes Texas advocated to strengthen surveillance data collection to better track instances of the Zika virus and its effects on birth defects in the state.
There is no treatment for Zika virus infection or the birth defects it causes. Research is under way toward development of a vaccine, although one is not expected to be available for use in the general public until 2020 at the earliest. The March of Dimes recommends the following methods to protect from Zika:
- Prevent mosquito bites by using EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-registered insect repellents and sprays
- Use air conditioning and window screens if possible
- Remove still water
- Wear clothes to prevent bites (long sleeves and pants). Use condoms to prevent sexual transmission
- Contact a health provider if you are at risk of infection
Call your health care provider if you are at risk of infection See below to access our fact sheets on Zika. March of Dimes remains committed to working with state policymakers and stakeholders across the country to promote Zika policies, initiatives, and interventions.
Below are just a few examples of fact sheets and issue briefs used in successful state advocacy efforts.
- Raising Minimum Tobacco Purchase Age to 21 Fact Sheet
- E-Cigarettes & Pregnancy Fact Sheet
- Access to Care Fact Sheet
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) Fact Sheet
- Pregnancy Discrimination Fact Sheet
- Pompe Disease Fact Sheet
- Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Fact Sheet
- Immunization Exemption Fact Sheet