Science

CDC: Federal Funds For Zika Prevention Needed Immediately

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2016 file photo of aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia. The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Barack Obamaís demands for money to combat the Zika virus, but even the onset of mosquito season sure to spread the virus has failed to create a sense of urgency.  (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2016 file photo of aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia. The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Barack Obamaís demands for money to combat the Zika virus, but even the onset of mosquito season sure to spread the virus has failed to create a sense of urgency. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)
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The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, without additional emergency funding from Congress, it may have to stop or delay measures to prevent the Zika virus.

Right now the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response is throwing everything it’s got at trying to understand Zika and prepare for warmer temperatures favorable to mosquitoes that can carry the virus. 

Dr. Stephen Redd is the director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. He said without emergency funding, his office will have to pull resources from other efforts.

“Some of the Ebola work is not going to be funded,” Redd said. “Also funds were taken from money that’s being used to prepare for emergencies or large infectious disease outbreaks or terrorist attacks.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on a measure authorizing $1.1 billion dollars in emergency funding, about a third of which would go to the CDC. It’s less than the $1.9 billion President Barack Obama had requested. 

“We need it as soon as possible,” said Redd.

Redd said getting that supplemental funding is going to be crucial to stay ahead of Zika, which researchers are still learning how to fight. 

If Congress votes to approve funding, the CDC will dole out a proportion to state and local governments.

“I would say that the county isn’t necessarily holding our breath on federal dollars,” said Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves. “We’re going to do what we can with existing resources.”

Eaves says Fulton County is about to launch an education program on Zika prevention and is continuing controlled spraying for mosquitoes.

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