Health News

Senate Still Debating On Zika Funding Bill

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A funding bill for the prevention of Zika has yet to appear before the Senate.

According to a report by Media General, the Obama administration asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funding several weeks ago, to halt the spread of the Zika virus in the United States. Zika, known to cause various symptoms such as fever and birth defects in pregnant women, is one of the country’s top health concerns.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summed up the virus scare in a news conference this April:

Everything we look at with this virus, seems to be a bit scarier than we originally thought.

The issue on funding for the Zika emergency is still under Senate discussion, with Republican leaders demanding transparency with regards to how the $1.9 billion would be spent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a press conference last week, “It’s an important issue. We’re in a discussion with them about how much do they really need.”

With this standstill, the Democrats have been getting louder in their call for action. In a news conference last Monday, New York senior Senator Chuck Schumer pressed Congress to act immediately. A Democratic House representative dismissed the Republicans’ concerns as ridiculous, compared to similar emergency measures that have been approved. Representative Rosa DeLauro stated that, “We have more information about this than we had about going to war in Iraq,” during a Democratic member press conference.

Most Zika cases have been recorded outside the United States. However, health officials are concerned about Americans contracting the disease out of the country and bringing it back with them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to warn citizens leaving the country to be careful and informed on the virus.

There have been 388 Zika cases reported in the US, all of which have been contracted through travel. Of these cases, 33 were found in pregnant women, 8 were sexually transmitted and 1 in a patient with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

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