Zika, an 'invisible crisis' says CDC director

For approximately six months, the CDC has warned the nation about the spread of Zika, yet for five months congressional lawmakers have failed to pass emergency funding to combat the virus, and polls have found U.S. citizens are less concerned about Zika than previous epidemics that did not pose veritable threats to Americans.

The situation is particularly dire in Puerto Rico where there have been nearly 2,000 locally transmitted cases and economic struggles have put the healthcare system in jeopardy. In a recent interview with NBC News, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, expressed his frustration with the U.S. response to Zika.

"The president calls the situation in Puerto Rico a crisis and it is. But it's an invisible crisis. In Puerto Rico, people are used to seeing dengue, which can kill you, or chikungunya, which can give you terrible joint pain for months," said Dr. Freiden.

The Zika virus is surreptitious by nature, catalyzing symptoms in infected individuals a mere 20 percent of the time.

Dr. Frieden told NBC News, "I have heard over and over again 'I don't know anyone with Zika.' Well, they don't know anyone who knows they had Zika because four out of five people don't have symptoms."

As of July 1, 935 travel-related Zika cases have been reported in U.S. states and seven babies have been born with birth defects related to the infection.

"I am just worried we are going to look back in four or five months and say, 'Why didn't we do more, then,'" said Dr. Frieden.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Study finds Zika virus may affect infants without microcephaly  
Math professors create model to better understand Zika sexual transmission  
House Zika bill blocked by Senate Democrats 

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