The cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, along with Los Angeles County, have received $2.4 million from the CDC to share for monitoring and dealing with Zika virus-related birth defects.
These funds come on top of $16.4 million already awarded to states and territories for monitoring birth defects that Zika caused, and $5.5 million available to local health departments to respond to Zika-exposed pregnant women.
The CDC press release says that priorities include better Zika reporting and referrals of affected infants and families for treatment and social resources. Also, monitoring is needed for children born to women with positive or inconclusive Zika in order to assess their development, according to the agency.
So far, no birth defects tied to locally acquired Zika infections have been reported in the United States. The vast majority of Zika infections have been in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil as the epicenter.
According to the CDC, the Zika virus doesn’t pose a significant health threat to most people, except pregnant women and fetuses.
The agency cautions everyone, especially pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant, to protect themselves from mosquito bites and possible Zika infection. Pregnant women are warned not to travel to an area where active Zika transmission is ongoing and to use insect repellant and to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts if they are in those areas. Partners of pregnant women are advised to use a condom to guard against sexual transmission during pregnancy.
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