The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are rapidly doling out funds to assist major cities across the country in the battle against the Zika virus.
In separate announcements
, the government agency revealed its plans to award $700,000 to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to “establish, enhance, and maintain” surveillance systems for microcephaly, a birth defect
associated with the mosquito-borne virus. Similarly, the CDC also provided nearly $350,000 and $400,000 in funding to Philadelphia and Houston, respectively, for microcephaly surveillance. In all, $2.4 million in funding was announced on Friday, with Chicago and Los Angeles County among the municipalities receiving a cash influx to fight Zika.
Although all of these localities sit outside what are widely considered to be the “high-risk” areas for localized transmission of Zika virus in the United States—namely, Florida and other states along the Gulf coast—all of them are primary points of entry for travelers to regions where Zika outbreaks have been reported, including South America, the Caribbean, and southeast Asia. Departments of Health and other city agencies, as well as major hospitals in these cities, have been on high-alert for Zika and Zika-related complications since late last year.
As of August 26, the CDC has “repurposed” $193 million in funds toward Zika, with $110 million of that being provided to local municipalities. In addition, the US Department of Health and Human Services has allocated $264 million to Zika response.
In a press release announcing the funding, the CDC noted, “The funds will allow these local areas to enhance information-gathering to carry out strategies for real-time, population-based monitoring for microcephaly and other birth defects caused by Zika virus, enhance capacity development through partner collaboration and infrastructure improvements, provide referral of infants and families to health and social resources, participate in CDC data reporting, [and] expand access to examination of health and monitoring of developmental outcomes of children born to women with positive or inconclusive Zika virus test results.”
Brian P. Dunleavy is a medical writer and editor based in New York. His work has appeared in numerous healthcare-related publications. He is the former editor of Infectious Disease Special Edition.
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