BALTIMORE (WJZ)–As the showdown continues between the White House and Congress over money to help fight the Zika virus, the CDC is doing what it can to prevent an outbreak in the U.S.
Nearly $60-million in funding, distributed through CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC) will be awarded to states and cities to support efforts to protect Americans from the virus. Maryland will be given $1.4-million to tackle the virus.
This comes weeks after President Obama requested $1.9 billion for the same reason, but Congress–both Democrats and Republicans–failed to approve a budget.
“Republicans in Congress can help pass that bill that treats Zika, like the serious threat that it is, fully fund our response,” said President Obama. “That’s an example of protecting America and helping other countries too. We can get that done.”
Maryland has at least 42 cases of the virus. This new funding will help to combat what many are calling a threat to the public’s health.
“Any amount of money that we can spend to help people prepare themselves for the threat of Zika and to protect themselves from passing it on, especially as it’s known that Zika can cause birth defects, is important,” said Christopher Garrett, with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Zika can be transmitted through sex, but it’s primarily spread through infected mosquitos.
And a bite could have devastating effects for pregnant women. Some babies have been born with severe brain defects.
“In terms of the first trimester risk of having an infection, that’s a night mare,” said Sandra DiBrito, who lives in Baltimore County.
For many expectant moms, dodging mosquito bites is no easy task.
“It’s harder than it sounds. I mean, you can wear Deet all the time, but you know, you can only try so hard,” DiBrito said.
The states should get the money on August 1st. It will be used for things like curbing breeding grounds for mosquitos.
An overwhelming majority of the people in the U.S. with the virus got infected after someone traveled abroad.
The CDC is looking into a case in Florida where someone may have contracted the virus here on U.S. soil.