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Congress to Vote on +$1B Zika Fund

MAY 12, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
Congress is in the midst of approving a bill that may grant over $1 billion in funds to combat the active transmission of the Zika virus in the United States.
 
The Zika virus is currently circulating in US territories, including Puerto Rico, where one individual recently died of infection. Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted that the more they learn about Zika, the scarier it seems to be.
 
According to Florida officials, the state’s mosquito season is on the horizon; there are currently 112 imported Zika cases within the state. The passing of this bill would help efforts to contain the virus as well as aid in testing and vaccine diagnostics. In addition, the fund can help in initiating prevention methods, such as vector population control, in areas that are not well-equipped to combat the infection.
 
The Obama administration has been pushing for a $1.9 billion fund to fight Zika since February 2016. However, some Senate Republicans have been pushing back, arguing that no more than $1.1 billion is needed. Reuters reports that three “competing plans” were presented to lawmakers. The first plan aims to provide the amount suggested by Republicans, while the second pushes for $1.9 billion. The final plan would repurpose Obamacare funds to grant $1.1 billion to combat Zika.
 
Josh Earnest, spokesman at the White House, stated that “any sort of forward momentum in Congress” will involve pushing for the original requested amount of $1.9 billion. He further noted, “It could not be clearer that Congress needs to take action to help our states and our local officials fight the Zika virus. That is critical for health and safety of the American people.”
 
Although the majority of Zika virus-infected individuals do not have any symptoms, many adverse effects have been reported in developing fetuses in infected pregnant women. As a result, the CDC is currently working with state health departments to better inform healthcare professionals and the public of important communication recommendations, the complications associated with Zika, prevention methods, and testing recommendations.
 
 
 
 
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