The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded $184 million in funding to states, territories, local jurisdictions and universities to support initiatives to protect Americans from the spread of Zika virus.
The awards are part of the $350 million in funding provided to the CDC under a large Zika prevention bill, called the Zika Response and Preparedness Appropriations Act of 2016.
Zika virus belongs to the flavivirus genus and often shows no or only mild symptoms to those who become infected. When pregnant women become infected, however, the virus has been linked to severe malformations of the fetus, called microcephaly. The virus is typically spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito, although it has been known to be transmitted through sexual contact as well. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
“Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women,” Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said. “States, territories, and communities need this CDC funding to fight Zika and protect the next generation of Americans.”
Of the $184 million awarded, $25 million will be granted to 21 jurisdictions at greatest risk of Zika infections in their communities. Each jurisdiction will be able to use the funding to identify and investigate any possible outbreak of Zika virus in their communities, as well as coordinate a comprehensive response across all levels of government.
Approximately $97 million will be granted to 58 state, territorial, city and local public health departments through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement. The funds are aimed at strengthening epidemiological surveillance and investigation, as well as improving mosquito control and monitoring.
The remaining funds will be used for information gathering systems to detect microcephaly and adverse outcomes related to infection of the virus, establishing centers at four universities to address emerging and exotic vector-borne diseases in the United States, and vector control measures at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust.