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DEERFIELD, Ill., March 07, 2016 - In an effort to curb the spread of Zika virus disease in Puerto Rico, Walgreens is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation to educate the public on preventive steps to avoid Zika. In addition, Walgreens is making a $100,000 donation to the CDC Foundation to aid its Zika virus education and prevention efforts.
Beginning today, March 7, all of Walgreens 120 drugstores in Puerto Rico will dedicate space to providing information on CDC-recommended steps to prevent the spread of Zika virus, which is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The CDC, along with other health agencies, is investigating the association between Zika and microcephaly, a birth defect in which the baby’s head is smaller than expected and often has a smaller brain that may not have developed properly.
“As a pharmacy that champions everyone’s right to be happy and healthy, we are well positioned to address concerns about how anyone can protect themselves and their families from Zika, while also providing many CDC-recommended prevention products,” said Walgreens President of Pharmacy and Retail Operations Richard Ashworth. “We’re proud to work closely with the CDC and the CDC Foundation to expand their efforts to prevent the spread of this disease.”
The CDC Foundation advances the mission of the CDC through effective philanthropy and public-private partnerships that protect the health, safety and security of America and the world.
“We are grateful to Walgreens for its innovative collaboration to help extend CDC’s Zika response,” said Dr. Judith Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “These efforts in reaching women with prevention messaging at a critical stage will help in protecting people. The CDC Foundation is proud to help support CDC efforts to combat this health threat.”
To make Zika virus prevention products easily available and more affordable, Walgreens has lowered the price on CDC-recommended items in its Puerto Rico stores, including insect repellent with DEET, condoms and thermometers to monitor for fever.
As growing medical evidence suggests Zika may be sexually transmitted, the CDC recommends women, especially those who are pregnant or may become pregnant, and men who have traveled to or lived in an area with Zika virus, abstain from sex or use condoms during sex.
"It is gratifying to see that allies are continuously forming in education and prevention, as in the case of the CDC, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and Walgreens who are collaborating to provide educational material about and access to Zika prevention products in Walgreens stores throughout Puerto Rico,” said Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi.
Currently, no vaccine exists to prevent or treat Zika virus. The World Health Organization recently called Zika a public health emergency of international concern and is seeking to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to combat the disease. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by a mosquito.
Individuals with questions about recommended products and other ways to prevent Zika virus disease are encouraged to consult with a Walgreens pharmacist or visit the CDC website for current information on Zika.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Walgreens also manages more than 400 Healthcare Clinic and provider practice locations around the country.