CMS awards $66.1M to US territories, Florida to assist Zika fight

CMS is giving $66.1 million to health departments in the American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida to help combat the Zika virus.

CMS will grant the funding over a three-year period, with $60.6 million going to Puerto Rico, which has the highest incidence of locally transmitted Zika cases. The funds are intended for regions with laboratory-confirmed active or local transmission of the Zika virus, as per the Zika Response and Preparedness Act.

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Though Zika no longer represents a public health emergency of international concern, as defined under the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations, it still poses a serious threat. The virus infection during pregnancy has been linked to fetal death and other adverse outcomes, including microcephaly. The virus has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves and incites paralysis.

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