Stopgap measure aims to fight Zika right now
Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $60 million in funding that will serve to help U.S. states and territories combat Zika virus.
The CDC said the $60 million is total awards will go to cities, states and territories, and is acting as a stopgap measure to help U.S. regions respond to the rapidly advancing threat. The funding in large part will aim to protect pregnant women, as the serious birth defect microcephaly has already been link to Zika. Other birth defects and serious medical conditions may also be tied to Zika; medical experts across the globe are still researching and learning about the mysterious virus.
The funds will be distributed through the CDC's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC), and will support wide-ranging anti-Zika activities and initiatives, including improving mosquito control, bolstering laboratory initiatives, and furthering public health surveillance and investigation. A particular focus will be placed on both monitoring pregnant women with Zika through the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, and closely scrutinizing Zika-related activities in U.S.-Mexico border states.
This newly awarded funding will start being available to selected regions on August 1.
— CDC (@CDCgov) July 25, 2016
Federal funding still stalled in Congress
The White House originally requested $1.9 billion to fund the U.S. fight against Zika virus, but that effort remains stalled in Congress. In April a few months after the initial $1.9 billion request, the White House took an additional step, shifting $589 million in unused Ebola funds to combat Zika.
The CDC is among various groups and organization urging Congress to push through the stall and take action on Zika quickly.
"These CDC funds will strengthen state and territorial capacity to respond to Zika virus, an increasingly concerning public health threat for pregnant women and babies. We hope Congress will provide the additional resources we need to fully support the Zika response." -- CDC Director Tom Frieden