The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it will award $423,000 to the state of Delaware to protect its residents from the Zika virus. This award is Delaware’s share of the $60 million the CDC is allocating to regions of the U.S. to fight the Zika virus and its related health issues nationwide.
The Obama administration has requested $1.9 billion to protect the country from Zika, but Congress has not approved this budget.
“Our local, state and territorial health departments are on the front lines in the fight against Zika, and though the necessary funding that is needed isn’t yet available, we cannot wait to provide this essential support,” stated CDC Director Tom Frieden.
The $60 million in Zika funding is being distributed through the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). ELC distributes funding to states annually. This year, in addition to the Zika funding, Delaware will receive $1.2 million for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, tracking vaccine-preventable diseases, and quickly detecting and responding to antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. The funding will also go towards preventing foodborne illnesses, which kill roughly 3,000 Americans each year, and hospitalize 128,000.
Zika is becoming increasingly worrisome to people in the United States. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the virus, which spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The infection can also be sexually transmitted from one human partner to another.
Symptoms of the virus are usually mild; however, pregnant women who are infected run the risk of causing severe harm to the fetus, including the condition microcephaly and other brain defects.
Part of the CDC’s funding will go towards initiatives to protect the health of pregnant women through epidemiologic surveillance and investigation as well as improving mosquito control and monitoring.