CDC’s embeddable microsite updates Zika threat info in real time

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new tool to help federal agencies, local health departments, medical schools and other organizations communicate the latest information about the threat of Zika virus.

The Zika Virus Microsite uses an API to pull the most up-to-date CDC information on the disease into an embeddable collection of pages. It features material about preventing the virus, and detecting and treating its symptoms, as well as information for pregnant women and travelers.

Zika, mosquito-borne virus, appears to be linked to microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby is born with a smaller head. Its outbreak in Latin America and the Caribbean has led some governments to advise women not to get pregnant. The CDC has recommended pregnant women consider postponing travel to affected areas.

Fred Smith, the CDC’s acting chief of digital media, told FedScoop that the microsite makes the information about Zika more accessible to people who need it.

“It takes CDC’s content and puts it where people are already visiting, so we’re not relying on them to look at CDC.gov,” Smith said. He added, “For our partners, they get to deliver all of this content without having to maintain it.”

The microsite was unveiled last month, and so far, 200 organizations have embedded the code on their own sites. Smith’s office plans to release a Spanish-language version in the next week or two.

CDC has released microsites before: one on the Ebola virus with information geared toward U.S. health care workers and another related to concussions. The Zika microsite has fewer pages than the earlier tools, and was built using a framework that Smith said could be easily replicated for future microsites.

“I expect a few more of these [microsites] to be coming out in the next couple of months on a variety of topics,” Smith said.

Contact the reporter on this story via email Whitney.Wyckoff@fedscoop.com, or follow her on Twitter @whitneywyckoff. Sign up for all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning at 6:00 here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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App Development / APIs, Applications & Software, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Departments, Tech
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