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Zika Funding Approval: What Does This Mean?

來源:WebMD Medical News 作者: 2016-9-30
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摘要: 1 billion toward curbing the spread of the Zika virus, a primarily mosquito-borne disease that has raised public health alarms。 First Things First: A Reminder Of Why Zika Causes Concern Zika is a virus that has been spreading globally since last year。 For most of the population, Zika d......


By Shefali Luthra

After months of bickering, Congress agreed Wednesday to allocate $1.1 billion toward curbing the spread of the Zika virus, a primarily mosquito-borne disease that has raised public health alarms.

The package is part of a larger spending bill to keep the federal government running until Dec. 9. It comes as the virus — which can cause birth defects if contracted by pregnant women — is actively spreading in Florida. More than 3,000 cases have been reported in the continental United States, though most were contracted by people traveling abroad.

So what exactly has Congress done? And, from a public health standpoint, how much will it help? Here is a breakdown of what you need to know.

First Things First: A Reminder Of Why Zika Causes Concern

Zika is a virus that has been spreading globally since last year. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and also through sexual intercourse. The virus has already moved through African and Latin American countries. Currently, mosquitoes are carrying it in parts of Florida. Experts worry these mosquitoes will spread to other Gulf Coast states — such as Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, where hot, humid climates are particularly friendly to the insects.

For most of the population, Zika doesn’t appear to be a huge deal. About 80 percent of people who are infected don’t show symptoms at all. Those who do typically suffer a flu or maybe a bad rash.

But for pregnant women, it’s a different story. Zika can cause severe birth defects in children — including but not limited to microcephaly, which stunts brain development — and has been linked to other complications in pregnancy.

It’s unclear how often those complications result, though, and researchers are still investigating other possible consequences Zika might have in terms of fetal development and for both mother and child’s long-term health. So, long story short: The virus can be incredibly damaging. How often that’s true, though, remains unclear.

This $1.1 Billion — What Will It Actually Do?

The funding consists of two pots: one, totaling almost $935 million, for efforts curbing Zika’s spread at home; and another, for about $175 million, targeting it abroad.


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