CDC awards $60 million to states, territories to battle Zika

On Thursday, the CDC announced it will begin awarding funds to states, cities and territories to protect their communities — especially residents who are pregnant or may become pregnant — from the Zika virus. The funds will collectively total nearly $60 million.

The funds will support epidemiologic surveillance and investigation, bolster mosquito control, improve laboratory capacity and increase participation in the CDC's Zika Pregnancy Registry.

The announcement comes after Congress failed to pass a bipartisan bill to support emergency funding for Zika prior to summer recess. The partisan fight over Zika funds began in February when President Barack Obama called for nearly $2 billion in funding to help brace the nation for the arrival of the Zika virus — a neurologically debilitating, mosquito-borne disease linked to birth defects, most notably microcephaly.

After the request, Republicans proposed bills with funds well below the White House's nearly $2 billion request. Republican backed measures supported diverting money from other causes, which inspired indignant responses from Democrats. The $1.1 billion measure most recently passed in the House and rejected in the Senate included provisions that would divert $622.1 million from other programs, including Planned Parenthood.

"Local, state and territorial health departments are on the front lines in the fight against Zika," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD. "These CDC funds will strengthen state and territorial capacity to respond to Zika virus, an increasingly concerning public health threat for pregnant women and babies. We hope Congress will provide the additional resources we need to fully support the Zika response."

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Google charts Zika worries by tracking searches: 3 things to know  
Brazil launches app for Olympians to self-monitor, report Zika  
First ever female-to-male sexual Zika transmission reported in NYC 

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