Zika Worse Than CDC Originally Thought
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new update on the Zika virus in the United States, including an initiative that will see the Obama administration lobby congress for $1.9 billion to help fight the virus across the country. The White House has already moved more than $500 million from fighting Ebola in Africa to combat Zika at home. Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC hosted the press conference, going over details of the current outbreak, projections, and the fight against it.
What You Need to Know About Zika and the CDC Brief
As of 4/11/2016, there are 346 cases of Zika confirmed throughout the continental US. From the recent CDC briefing, all these cases are from people who traveled to Zika-prone areas of the world, such as Africa, Asia, and South America. 32 of those cases were found in pregnant women and seven were contracted from sexual transmission. The biggest cause of concern is in the areas of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. In these three areas, the virus is being transmitted locally through the Aedes aegypti mosquito species versus being brought here from areas across the globe.
With the Aedes aegypti mosquito being present in part or all of 30 states in the US, the risk for Zika to be locally transmitted grows every day. The Zika virus is linked with microcephaly, premature birth, blindness, and a host of birth defects during and after pregnancy. In some cases, Zika doesn’t present itself until birth as seen in several cases in Brazil in 2015. There are currently no vaccines or drugs that can prevent or fight Zika.
Up until now, Zika has been a relatively quiet virus. It first emerged in 1947 and was quickly combated into near oblivion. In 2015, cases began emerging in Brazil after further research into a significant increase in the amount of microcephaly. While Zika hasn’t been directly linked to microcephaly, if it is the root cause, it’ll be the first mosquito-borne illness to cause it. It’ll also be the first infectious case of microcephaly in half a century. The CDC has shifted more than $3.5 million to fight Zika in Puerto Rico, where it sees the biggest threat to the continental US emerging.
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