Additional Funding Needed For Zika Response, U.S. Senior Health Officials Say, Warning Situation Evolving, More Complex Than Previously Thought

Associated Press: U.S. officials: The more we learn about Zika, scarier it is
“The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials said Monday as they urged more money for mosquito control and to develop vaccines and treatments. … President Barack Obama has sought about $1.9 billion in emergency money to help fight the Zika epidemic internationally and to prepare in case the virus spreads here, but the request has stalled in the GOP-controlled Congress. Last week, the administration said it would use [$510 million] in funds left over from the Ebola outbreak for some of that work…” (Neergaard, 4/11).

The Atlantic: The Obama Administration’s Zika Offensive
“…Now, even top public health officials seem willing to join the political fight. … When [Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,] last spoke to White House reporters in February, along with the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anne Schuchat, the two officials didn’t wade into the funding battle much at all. On Monday, Fauci was particularly vocal about the urgency of the funding request, insisting — as other agency directors did earlier this month — that the full $1.9 billion is needed…” (Kelly, 4/12).

BBC News: Zika virus ‘scarier than thought’ says U.S.
“… ‘When the president asked for $1.9 billion, we needed $1.9 billion.’ Dr. Fauci said initial trials of a Zika vaccine would likely start in September this year. Depending on the results, larger trials could begin at the start of 2017…” (4/12).

The Hill: CDC: Zika ‘scarier than we initially thought’
“… ‘Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,’ said Dr. Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who was invited to the daily White House press briefing to make the case for new funding…” (Sullivan, 4/11).

New York Times: Zika Fight Requires More Money, Congress Is Told
“…If Congress does not provide the needed funds, Dr. Fauci said, public health authorities will probably have to divert money from malaria and tuberculosis prevention programs, as well as from flu vaccine programs…” (Davis, 4/11).

Reuters: U.S. officials warn Zika ‘scarier’ than initially thought
“…Schuchat declined to forecast the number of Zika infections that could occur in the United States. While she said she did not expect large outbreaks in the continental United States, ‘we can’t assume we’re not going to have a big problem’…” (Gardner/Mason, 4/11).

Roll Call: Zika Threat Wider Than Originally Thought, White House Says
“…On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers remained hesitant to cut a check of nearly $2 billion, especially since the sum would breach spending caps. ‘We’re glad the administration has agreed to our request to use existing Ebola funds to address the Zika epidemic,’ Doug Andres, a [spokesman for House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)], said in an email. ‘If additional Zika resources are needed, those funds could and should be addressed through the regular appropriations process,’ Andres said…” (Bennett, 4/11).

TIME: Zika ‘Scarier Than We Initially Thought,’ U.S. Officials Say
“…In the update, Schuchat said experts have learned that the virus is linked to a broader set of health problems beyond microcephaly — where babies are born with underdeveloped heads — including premature births and vision problems. Health complications from Zika infection seem to be a risk for most of a woman’s pregnancy and not just her first trimester…” (Sifferlin, 4/11).

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