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U.S. states and territories can now apply to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for funds to fight Zika locally. More than $85 million in redirected funds identified by the Department of Health and Human Services is being made available to support efforts to protect Americans from Zika infection and associated adverse health outcomes, including the serious birth defect microcephaly.
"These funds will allow states and territories to continue implementation of their Zika preparedness plans, but are not enough to support a comprehensive Zika response and can only temporarily address what is needed,” said Stephen C. Redd, MD, (RADM, USPHS), director of CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. "Without the full amount of requested emergency supplemental funding, many activities that need to start now are being delayed or may have to be stopped within months.”
Under the latest announcement, $25 million in FY 2016 preparedness and response funding will go to 53 states, cities, and territories at risk for outbreaks of Zika virus infection. Recipients will receive funds based on the geographic locations of the two mosquitoes known to transmit Zika virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus; history of mosquito borne disease outbreaks; and size of population. Jurisdictions will use the funds to strengthen incident management and emergency operations coordination; information management and sharing; and community recovery and resilience.
State, local and territorial health officials can use the funds to rapidly identify and investigate a possible outbreak of Zika virus disease in their communities; coordinate a comprehensive response across all levels of government and non-governmental partners (including the healthcare sector); and identify and connect to community services families affected by Zika virus disease.
Applications for the funds are due to CDC by June 13, 2016. Funds will be disbursed during the summer and remain available through July 2017.
Earlier this year, states and cities currently participating in the Epidemiology and Lab Capacity (ELC) program became eligible for more than $60 million to:
• build laboratory capacity,
• enhance epidemiological surveillance and investigation,
• improve mosquito control and monitoring,
• keep blood supplies safe, and
• contribute data to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy registry.
Applications for these funds are due May 27, 2016, and will be disbursed during the summer.
Zika virus disease is caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, though Aedes aegypti are more likely to spread Zika. Sexual transmission also has been documented. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). In previous outbreaks, the illness has typically been mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Zika virus infection in pregnant women is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Zika also has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.