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U.S. Officials Work To Calm Fears Over Zika Virus, Move Vaccine Research Forward

CQ News: Zika Seen as Limited in U.S., but Officials Warn Against Travel
“Federal health officials expect only limited outbreaks within the United States of the mosquito-spread Zika virus that is thought to be linked to birth defects but cautioned pregnant travelers to avoid more than 20 countries in South and Central America where cases have been confirmed…” (Attias, 1/28).

The Hill: Senators want answers on Zika threat
“Senators are pushing the Obama administration for details on what it’s doing to prepare for a potential outbreak of the Zika virus. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday sent a letter to Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), asking that he ‘prioritize research’ for a potential vaccine to the virus…” (Carney, 1/28).

The Hill: CDC: Big Zika virus outbreak unlikely in U.S.
“U.S. health officials on Thursday sought to reassure the public that a large outbreak of Zika virus in the United States is unlikely…” (Sullivan, 1/28).

The Hill: Fears grow over Olympics in Brazil, epicenter of Zika virus
“Democratic lawmakers are raising concerns about this summer’s Olympic Games held in Brazil amid the rapid spread of the Zika virus. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday urged the Obama administration to address the ‘ever-growing spread’ of the disease — especially as thousands of people plan to gather this summer near its epicenter…” (Ferris, 1/28).

NPR: U.S. Health Agencies Intensify Fight Against Zika Virus
“A human study of Zika virus vaccine could begin as early as this year, U.S. health officials told reporters Thursday. But the officials cautioned that it could be years before the vaccine is available for wide use…” (Stein, 1/29).

POLITICO: Is Zika the new Ebola?
“…Zika is all but certain to crop up as a political issue — potentially complicating efforts to educate the public about a risk that for most Americans is far smaller and less risky than from Ebola…” (Kenen/Haberkorn, 1/28).

Reuters: U.S. official sees Zika vaccine trials starting by end of 2016
“The United States has two potential candidates for a vaccine for the Zika virus and may begin clinical trials in people by the end of this year, but there will not be a widely available vaccine for several years, U.S. officials said on Thursday…” (Steenhuysen, 1/28).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.