Posted: May 25, 2016 Contributor: administrator
Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Expected to Hit the US Within a ‘Month or So’
The Zika virus could be infecting more Americans sooner than we thought. According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are expected to reach the United States by this summer.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that while there are currently 544 cases of Zika virus in the United States, none have been contracted locally. All of the US cases thus far have been travel-related, meaning the individuals were infected with the virus while traveling abroad or contracted it from someone who traveled. “The landscape will change soon as infected mosquitoes enter the United States,” Fauci said.
What can we expect?
Two species of mosquitoes that carry Zika are estimated to have a wide reach in the US. The first species is expected to cover the southern region of the country and reach as far north as San Francisco and New York. The other species is expected to blanket the East Coast and the Northeast region. Experts believe that when the hot weather hits this summer mosquito populations will boom, increasing the transmission of Zika.
Pregnant women at risk
Pregnant women are the most at-risk when it comes to contracting Zika because it has been proven that it causes birth defects such as microcephaly. The CDC reports that there are almost 300 cases of pregnant women with the Zika virus in the United States thus far and this number is only going to continue to grow with the spread of Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Governments in South America have urged women to avoid pregnancy until 2018. Even despite the church’s opposition to birth control, Pope Francis was quoted by CNN saying that contraceptives and birth control should be used to prevent the spread of Zika.
What the U.S. is doing to fight Zika
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a measure that would designate $622 million dollars to fight Zika after the White House initially asked for $1.9 billion. The House seeks to use funds that were allocated to combat Ebola in 2014 to help offset the cost of the new measure. However, Fauci strongly advises against this plan and President Obama has even threatened to veto the bill. Fauci argues that Ebola is still a lingering threat and “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is not a good idea. Obama is pushing for Congress to make a decision about the Zika funds before lawmakers leave town for the holiday weekend. We hope this is true, as time is of the essence with this one!]]>