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White House Redirects $589M In Funds To Fight Zika Virus (reuters.com) 55

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The White House said on Wednesday it will redirect $589 million in funds to prepare for the Zika virus before the mosquito that carries it begins to emerge in the continental United States, but urged Congress to act quickly on its request for more money. Most of the $589 million will come from $2.7 billion in funds set aside for public health projects aimed at the Ebola virus. White House budget director Shaun Donovan said the use of money previously provided for fighting another health crisis, the Ebola virus, was only a temporary fix for Zika funding. Donovan said some measures to fight Zika would have to be delayed, curtailed or stopped unless the U.S. Congress approves more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds requested by the Obama administration in February. The Zika virus, linked to a growing number of cases of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean and heading north as the weather gets warmer.
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White House Redirects $589M In Funds To Fight Zika Virus

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  • by suupaabaka ( 854944 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @04:52PM (#51856351)
    Maybe they should just build a big wall.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @04:56PM (#51856381) Journal
    I think it's a good idea to get ahead of this outbreak instead of waiting until the tipping point was near for widespread transmission.

    Take not just the money from Ebola, take the lesson: don't let something this virulent get away from us.

    As of March 30, 2016 (5 am EST) Zika virus disease and Zika virus congenital infection are nationally notifiable conditions. This update from the CDC Arboviral Disease Branch includes provisional data reported to ArboNET for January 1, 2015 – March 30, 2016. US States Travel-associated Zika virus disease cases reported: 312 Locally acquired vector-borne cases reported: 0 Of the 312 cases reported, 27 were pregnant women, 6 were sexually transmitted, and 1 had Guillain-Barré syndrome US Territories Travel-associated cases reported: 3 Locally acquired cases reported: 349 Of the 352 cases reported, 37 were pregnant women and 1 had Guillain-Barré syndrome

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by waTeim ( 2818975 )
      Adding; the species A. aegypti is the mosquito that carries Zika and is present in the United State mainland along the Gulf Coast and also in AZ. There is a ~3 day window after a mosquito bites someone who is infected before someone else can be infected but after that it's for the lifetime of the mosquite (total 15 days). No natively transmitted Zika has been reported in the continental US, but it is expected that 20% of the population of Puerto Rico will be infected by Zika by the end of the year.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mspohr ( 589790 )

      Except Ebola hasn't gone extinct. There are still new cases reported and it could break into an epidemic at any time.
      Foolish Republicans won't fund both Zika and Ebola research... it's their crusade against government spending (and the poor).

      • It's become obvious that Ebola is relatively easy to contain once you get on top of it. It can't be transmitted except by direct contact with someone who's sick with it. Zika on the other hand is carried by mosquitoes and anywhere the type of mosquitoes that can carry it are endemic it will be a threat. That includes much of the southern USA. Ars Technica had a recent story about how Zika may infect nerve cells in any age person. Link. [arstechnica.com]

        • Zika on the other hand is carried by mosquitoes and anywhere the type of mosquitoes that can carry it are endemic it will be a threat.

          Most parts of the USA that have mosquitoes also have measures in place to control and/or eliminate them, some more effective than others. I would hope that those measures would help control this, along with other mosquito born diseases.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            Most parts of the USA that have mosquitoes also have measures in place to control and/or eliminate them, some more effective than others. I would hope that those measures would help control this, along with other mosquito born diseases.

            The key word is "control". Sure the US isn't overrun with mosquitos, but you can't get rid of every single one of them because they breed wherever there's stagnant water.

            And there's plenty of mosquito-borne illnesses - west nile is a common one that keeps rebounding every sum

            • The key word is "control".

              Yes. Exactly. This is why there are Mosquito Abatement Districts where I live not Elimination Districts.

              And they do a very good job, too. Back when I was young, in the '50s, mosquitoes were quite a problem in the San Fernando Valley. If there was the slightest gap in the window screens, you'd wake up with at least four or five new bites every morning until you either patched the screen or at least made sure that window was closed at night. Now, if you get more than two or
    • Take not just the money from Ebola, take the lesson: don't let something this virulent get away from us.

      except Ebola virus was extremely virulent and deadly whereas the Zika virus is neither of those.

      • I think (and hope) a lot of the early stuff linking the disease to microcephaly is premature conjecture.

        It's also fairly recently believed to have been spread through sexual contact, after being thought of as primarily a mosquito borne disease.

      • Take not just the money from Ebola, take the lesson: don't let something this virulent get away from us.

        except Ebola virus was extremely virulent and deadly whereas the Zika virus is neither of those.

        Ebola is virulent and deadly (isn't that redundant?) but it is only contagious through direct contact. It's easy to control once you're aware of it.

  • infected, nothing will happen. Seriously, this CONgress is going to fight it just because O pushed it.
  • Why should I have to pay for Zika virus containment when I'm not anywhere that needs it? And if I am shouldn't I pay for my own containment and not everybody elses?

    OK, ok, I'm trolling. But I've actually had these conversation with people. It's not usually about anything as scary as viruses. But try getting anyone to agree to national infrastructure spending. Obama almost lost the US Prez election with his "You didn't build it" comment trying to find a way to say the things you do for your fellow citize
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2016 @02:41AM (#51858591)

    Some facts:
    Zika has been spreading through Africa for at least 60 years now without serious consequences being observed. The typical clinical course of Zika fever is harmless. A correlation between it and microcephaly has not yet been demonstrated. The reported number of cases (Zika with microcephaly) by the Brazilian researchers who started the discussion is, contrary to the impression created in parts of the media, around 20. Microcephaly is definitely caused by infection with other viruses (e.g., rubella), alcohol abuse, and other factors in effect during pregnancy.

    The reaction:
    A warning about a possible risk posed by Zika during pregnency makes sense, but only in proportion to other risks. The context-free representation in some media ("OMG, new killer virus cripples masses of Babies") is probably not helpful.

    My interpretation:
    Zika is used as an argument for releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in Brasil as a counter measure. The risk of this measure could be more unpredictable or greater than the risk of the virus itself. Also, huge amounts of money are about to be moved as seen here. Therefore, I wonder if perhaps other motivations are involved. Moreover, parts of the political class of Brazil are currently grateful for any type of distraction: the government has proven to be corrupt and is about to be replaced by an opposition which is even more corrupt. So it's probably a good thing to keep the public occupied with other things.

  • Maybe they should wait until all the scientist are in complete agreement regarding the facts on the Zika virus. Some of them say it is something else, like Monsanto products in Brazil. This could hurt the economy and businesses. Oh, wait, that is climate change. Never mind, fund the hello out of this.

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