U.S. President Barack Obama is requesting $1.8 billion from Congress to help battle the Zika virus. Should this be approved, the funds will be placed towards vaccination research and mosquito control programs. In addition, this money will help support health care services for low income pregnant women. To date, a dozen Zika cases have emerged within U.S., and there has been merely a single case of known local spread, which has occurred in the state of Texas. Still, other funds for the $1.8 billion will be allotted to countries that currently have Zika outbreaks, in hopes to eliminate the spread of this terrible disease.
Zika, a mosquito-borne illness, has rapidly spread throughout Brazil and other nations countries close by this past year. Many are worried that the virus is the underlying reason for this region’s recent increase in microcephaly issues; a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small heads. While there is no concrete confirmation of a connection between this condition that affects infants and Zika, one cannot dismiss the fact that the timing of the Zika outbreak has aligned with over 4,500 microcephaly cases in Brazil in 2015; which is an increase of 150 microcephaly incidents to the current number of cases Brazil general sees yearly.
The Verge reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling the Zika outbreak a ‘public health emergency’, which should be a concern for all citizens worldwide; as the group looks to draw attention to this issue, internationally. WHO approximates over 4 million people in South and Central America might contract Zika by the end of 2016, if no efforts for intervention are made.