Obama presses for Zika fund­ing as wor­ries grow

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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