While most people have no symptoms as all, Zika causes mild illness in some. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a link between Zika infection during pregnancy and serious birth defects and other poor pregnancy outcomes. We also know that there can be other serious neurological impacts in some people who are infected with Zika.
We are closely tracking and responding to outbreaks of this virus across the Americas. While we haven’t seen Zika transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States to date, we have seen transmission in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, in addition to cases reported in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.
And we know that this particular mosquito lives in certain parts of the southern United States, and we now know that Zika can also spread in another type of mosquito that is present throughout much of the United States. So now is the time to prepare as the seasons change and weather gets warmer.
As President Obama said, we all have to remain vigilant when it comes to combating the spread of diseases like Zika. That’s why the President has called on Congress to provide emergency funding to combat this disease, including to:
- speed the development of a vaccine;
- allow people – especially pregnant women – to more easily get tested and get a prompt result; and
- ensure that states and communities – particularly those in the South that have experienced local outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya in the past – have the resources they need to fight the mosquito that carries this virus.
Congress needs to act now to ensure that we have the resources we need to take every step necessary to protect the American people from the Zika virus.