Obama presses for Zika funding as worries grow
US President Barack Obama has called on Congress to step up funding to combat the Zika virus, warning that delay is putting more Americans at risk.
Mr Obama’s latest appeal, in his weekly radio address, came the day after the US authorities expressed deepening worry about the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, urging that all donated blood be tested for the Zika virus.
Congress has denied past administration requests for Zika funding, instead redirecting funds that had been earmarked to fight Ebola, cancer and other diseases.
More than 2500 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Zika, along with more than 9000 in Puerto Rico and other US territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are 584 pregnant women on the US mainland with lab evidence of Zika infection, and 812 in the US territories.
Florida in July announced its first cases of locally transmitted Zika, with 42 infections.
The Food and Drug Administration has revised its guidelines for blood donations, now recommending that all donated blood be tested for the Zika virus.
Stricter national safeguards are needed as evidence has emerged that Zika can be transmitted sexually, and those infected often show no symptoms, the FDA said.
The US authorities announced the first known case of a man who had Zika but did not know because he showed no symptoms – and subsequently infected his female partner during unprotected sex. –