- Barack Obama on Monday asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus
- The funding will be used to expand mosquito control initiatives and provide support for low-income pregnant women
- The U.S. CDC has recorded as many as 50 confirmed Zika cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015 – February 2016
- The WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern over the Zika virus
President Barack Obama on Monday asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika in the United States and other countries.
The funding will be used to expand mosquito control initiatives, accelerate vaccine research and diagnostic development and provide support for low-income pregnant women.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported as many as 50 confirmed Zika cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015 – February 2016.
Obama also urged people to stay calm. “The good news is this is not like Ebola, people don’t die of Zika. A lot of people get it and don’t even know that they have it,” he told CBS News in an interview.
“But there shouldn’t be panic on this, this is not something where people are going to die from it. It is something we have to take seriously,” Obama added.
Last week, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern over the Zika virus and associated health conditions.
Zika virus infection has been connected to cases of microcephaly, in which children are born with underdeveloped brains.
According to reports, Brazil alone has recorded over 4,000 cases of microcephaly since last October.
Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, called Zika an “extraordinary event” that required a coordinated response.
“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” Dr. Chan Said.
According to the U.S. CDC, most individuals fully recover from Zika virus without severe complications, and severe illness or deaths from Zika virus are extremely rare.
A patient in Dallas, Texas, has acquired the Zika virus through sex, confirmed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The officials have urged pregnant women against travel to about two dozen countries, mostly in the Latin America, where the Zika virus outbreak is ongoing.