As a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official warns that Zika outbreaks in the continental U.S. were likely this summer, congressional Democrats are pressuring Republican leadership to authorize $1.8 billion in Zika funding requested by the White House two months ago.
Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the CDC's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this weekend that he expected to see small, local outbreaks of Zika this summer, Reuters reported. "It would not be surprising at all--if not likely--that we're going to see a bit of that," he said, according to the article. "We're talking about scores of cases, dozens of cases, at most."
Fauci also told CNBC this weekend that pregnant women shouldn't restrict travel within the continental U.S. out of fear of the Zika virus. "To tell someone not to travel within the continental United States is not true," he said.
Meanwhile, more than 40 Senate Democrats banded together to demand that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), allow a Senate vote on the White House's request for $1.8 billion to combat the virus, the Associated Press reported. Without a vote being called, "Congress has failed to address a disease that has infected nearly 700 Americans in 40 states, Washington, D.C., and 3 U.S. territories," the Democrats said in a letter to McConnell. The AP said a vote was likely before the summer recess, but how much money Republicans are willing to authorize was unclear.
Researchers and the CDC confirmed last week that the Zika virus causes microcephaly in infants along with other significant brain-related birth defects, FierceHealthcare reported.