For Immediate Release
Contact: David Fouse, 202-777-2501
Conclusive linking of Zika with birth defects underscores urgency for emergency funding, says APHA
Washington, D.C., April 14, 2016 — A new conclusion linking the Zika virus to microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects gives added urgency to the need for emergency funding to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus in the U.S., the American Public Health Association said today.
Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed and evaluated recent evidence and yesterday confirmed the link to microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby is born with a small head and other possible developmental problems. Babies born to mothers who have been exposed to the virus during pregnancy are most at risk.
“The science is in and we now know that the Zika virus poses a serious risk to developing fetuses,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “There is no time for delay. Congress must act to approve adequate resources to address this public health threat without taking money from other important public health programs.”
Emergency funding would strengthen the capacity of state and local health departments to prepare for and respond to this threat; expand outreach, education, screening and treatment services; enhance laboratory and surveillance capacity, and reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Supplemental funding would also support U.S. efforts to contain Zika in affected countries and support Zika response.
“We applaud CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other federal agencies for their work to identify, track and prevent the spread of the virus,” said Benjamin. “But they need sufficient resources to mount a truly effective response.
“As we anticipate the arrival of warmer weather across the U.S., the threat of mosquito-borne disease rises and places American families at greater peril. We urge Congress to provide the necessary resources to protect pregnant women and their developing fetuses from this very risky infection.”
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