CDC Warns: Zika Virus is ‘Scarier than we initially thought’, Feds Request $1.9 Billion to Combat the Virus

The reaction to Obama’s proposal to spend more money on fighting Zika was predictably polarized. Whereas Democrats quickly threw their support behind the president’s request, Republicans were skeptical due to the fact that the administration already has funds it can use to stop the virus.

With multiple cases of zika already confirmed in at least 11 states, we can only hope the response to the virus isn’t compromised by Washington in-fighting:

“White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the newest warning ‘hopefully serves as motivation for members of Congress to pay attention to this important topic.’

But congressional Republicans accused the White House of trying to'”politicize’ Zika. ‘We’re glad the administration has agreed to our request to use existing Ebola funds to address the Zika epidemic,’ said Doug Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. ‘If additional Zika resources are needed those funds could and should be addressed through the regular appropriations process.’

But Democrats said the potential human toll of the virus can’t wait on the budget cycle.

‘Down the road we’ll find a vaccine. Down the road we will be able to manage this problem,’ said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., on the floor of the Senate Monday. ‘But in the meantime there’s a great deal of trauma (and) some extraordinary heartbreak to some families.’

Zika has been known to exist since 1947, but was long considered to be a minor disease that causes only mild illness.

Late last year, Zika became linked to a dramatic increase in Brazil of microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. If Zika’s role in causing birth defects is confirmed, it would be the first mosquito-borne illness to cause microcephaly, and the first infectious cause of microcephaly to be identified in more than 50 years, according to the CDC.

Doctors have known for years that Zika virus is associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the body attacks its own nerves, causing paralysis.

But a study released Monday also links Zika to a second autoimmune disorder called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. It resembles multiple sclerosis and involves a swelling of the brain and spinal cord. New studies also show that the Zika virus appears to hone in on brain cells and kill them.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday it was providing $3.9 million in emergency Zika funding to Puerto Rico. saying the number of cases there is doubling every week and could reach into the hundreds of thousands. The money will go to increased laboratory capacity.

‘We are quite concerned about Puerto Rico, where the virus is spreading throughout the island,’ Schuchat said. ‘We think there could be hundreds of thousands of cases of Zika virus in Puerto Rico and perhaps hundreds of affected babies.'”

Source: USAToday, Truth And Action



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