: Reuters: U.S. officials warn Zika 'scarier' than initially thought

10:20 Apr. 12, 2016

Reuters: U.S. officials warn Zika 'scarier' than initially thought

Dr. Anthony Fauci with Dr. Anne Schuchat speaks about the Zika virus, Washington, April 11, 2016 (AP Photo)

Zika accelerates its spread across American continent

Top health officials expressed heightened concern on Monday (April 11) about the threat posed to the United States by the Zika virus, saying the mosquito that spreads it is now present in about 30 states and hundreds of thousands of infections could appear in Puerto Rico.

Watch also World to face severe Zika crisis - WHO

At a White House briefing, they stepped up pressure on the Republican-led Congress to pass approximately .9 billion in emergency funding for Zika preparedness that the Obama administration requested in February.

"Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, a deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"And so while we absolutely hope we don't see widespread local transmission in the continental U.S., we need the states to be ready for that," Schuchat added.

Zika, linked to numerous cases of the birth defect micocephaly in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read also Scientists finally know what the Zika virus looks like

The White House said last week in the absence of the emergency funds it will redirect 9 million, mostly from money already provided by Congress to tackle the Ebola virus, to prepare for Zika before it begins to emerge in the continental United States as the weather warms.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said if Congress does not provide emergency Zika funding, U.S. officials likely would be forced to redirect money currently dedicated for research into malaria, tuberculosis and a universal flu vaccine.

"I don't have what I need right now," Fauci said.

Watch also Brazil launches nationwide campaign to contain Zika virus

Hopefully the funding crimp will never reach a point where the stopgap money runs out, but if it does, he said, "we'll have to start raiding other accounts, and very important research in other diseases is going to suffer, and suffer badly."

Schuchat said Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species that primarily transmits the virus, is present in about 30 states, rather than 12 as previously thought. In the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, there may be hundreds of thousands of Zika infections and perhaps hundreds of affected babies, she added.

Full story 

comments powered by Disqus

RELATED NEWS

News15:27 Dec. 4, 2016
Shootout during a Spec Op: 5 policemen dead
News16:00 Nov. 28, 2016
Suspension mechanism to be dicussed on November 29 - RFE/RL
News12:15 Nov. 25, 2016
Record number of ceasefire violations in Donbas since 2014 - OSCE
News18:40 Nov. 24, 2016
Iraq suicide attack: at least 80 killed
News18:27 Nov. 24, 2016
European Council president speaks Ukrainian at Brussels summit
Ukraine Today WEEKLY DIGEST
Subscribe to receive regular email updates about Ukraine and Eastern Europe
vk154998