Health Care

CDC holds summit to prepare for Zika

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a summit Friday for local and state officials at its headquarters in Atlanta to prepare for the Zika virus. 

{mosads}As warmer weather comes, the virus, and the mosquitoes that spread it, is expected to multiply. 

The summit is intended to allow state and local officials to consult with experts and leave ready with action plans. 

While Zika generally mild or no symptoms, it does pose a risk for pregnant women, given that the virus is thought to be linked to serious birth defects in babies. 

 “The mosquitoes that carry Zika virus are already active in U.S. territories, hundreds of travelers with Zika have already returned to the continental U.S., and we could well see clusters of Zika virus in the continental U.S. in the coming months,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Urgent action is needed, especially to minimize the risk of exposure during pregnancy.”

Frieden wrote a FoxNews.com op-ed on Friday warning that the CDC expects that “hundreds of thousands of cases and thousands of infected pregnant women” in Puerto Rico by the end of the year. 

The virus is expected to be more limited on the continental United States, but officials have warned of small clusters of outbreaks in southern states. 

The White House has been pushing Congress to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funds to fight the virus, but congressional Republicans have been skeptical, arguing that existing funds for the Ebola virus could be repurposed. 

 

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