Zika Virus is still on the move throughout the United States but there may finally be a solution. After the U.S. Senate recently failed to pass a $1.1 billion proposal for funding Zika Virus prevention, against the recommendation of President Obama, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stepped in to help end the spread of Zika. The CDC has awarded $25 million to help 53 areas fight Zika Virus.
A recent press release from the CDC stated that the $25 million would be split among states, cities, and municipalities. The motivation for the CDC’s actions is to stop microcephaly (often caused by Zika Virus) and other birth defects. The funds will not only be used for fighting Zika Virus, but also for preventing further spread. Stephan C. Redd, M.D., director of the CDC’s office of Public Health Preparedness and Response recently explained the ways in which the $25 million will help the country to be more prepared.
“These CDC funds will enable states and territories to strengthen their Zika preparedness and response plans. Although the continental United States has not yet seen local transmission of the Zika virus, mosquito season is here, and states must continue to both work to prevent transmission and prepare for their first local case.”
Not too long ago, the United States government was still approaching the Zika Virus epidemic like a foreign issue. The problem with that approach was that it failed to consider the many U.S. cases that emerged, particularly in areas close to the Carribean. Now the situation in places like Florida has become more severe. According to PBS, over 246 cases have been reported in Florida this year alone. Last week, state officials confirmed the discovery of 10 more Zika Virus cases. The cause of the spread, according to officials, is not what people think.
Contrary to popular belief, the spread of Zika Virus is not just a result of travel. Immigration has reportedly played a large part in the Zika Virus epidemic. PBS states that 1,000 people with Zika Virus are now living in the United States. The Florida Department of Health considers 10 cases of Zika Virus in one day to be a huge red flag. As a result, the United States government is now referring to Zika Virus as a threat to public health.
Funding for Zika is not the only way the CDC plans to ensure preparedness for infection control. The CDC’s Friday press release revealed what else the agency has in store for disease prevention.
“In addition to the Zika-specific funding, CDC has awarded $567.5 million in cooperative agreements to 62 public health departments across the country to improve and sustain emergency preparedness of state and local public health systems. Individual departments will receive funds ranging from $320,000 to $38 million.”
The CDC is not working alone in the effort to fight Zika Virus. The White House is also working tirelessly to fund research for a Zika Virus vaccine. After the rejection of the funding by the U.S. Senate recently, the president gave an official statement from the oval office, explaining the need for the vaccine and defending the amount of funding required to fight Zika Virus.
“We didn’t draw that figure from the clouds – it was based on the assessment of our scientists and our experts in terms of what was going to be needed for basic mosquito abatement and vaccine development, and making sure that we’ve got the proper diagnostic tools so that we can respond effectively to protect the health and safety of the American people.”
The fight against Zika Virus is long overdue. The virus was first detected back in 1947 and now is threatening the well-being of infants in both North and South America. There is no cure for Zika Virus, and no hope of a vaccine for years to come. The CDC believes that if the country doesn’t act quickly, Zika Virus is “likely to spread to other areas.”
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