According to multiple sources Obama is pushing for more Zika funding in the United States after receiving the latest figures showing nearly 300 pregnant women in the US have tested positive for Zika.
In April the President requested a $1.9 billion fund to combat the spreading of the Zika virus, but the US Congress failed to back his request. On Friday, President Obama said the Senate had agreed to only half of the required funding and the House of Representative agreed to a third.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 157 pregnant women has tested positive for Zika in the US and the District of Columbia and another 122 in US territories.
According to the World Health Organization the Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. The symptoms include skin rash, mild fever, conjunctivitis, malaise or headache, muscle and joint pain and they normally last between two to seven days.
“There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites,” said WHO.
According to WHO the virus is known to circulate in the Americas, the Pacific, Asia and Africa, and is believed to possibly spread to Texas and Europe in the summer.
“We have a narrow window of opportunity to scale our programs, to figure out how the virus is spreading, to stop it and to develop a vaccine. We need to act now, to protect Americans, particularly mothers and babies, ” director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden said.
The White House also issued a statement saying “as President Obama said, we all have to remain vigilant when it comes to combating the spread of diseases like Zika. That’s why the President has called on Congress to provide emergency funding to combat this disease, including to speed the development of a vaccine, allow people- especially pregnant women- to more easily get tested and get a prompt result, and ensure that states and communities, particularly those in the South that have experienced local outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya in the past, have the resources they need to fight the mosquito that carries this virus.”
“Congress needs to act now to ensure that we have the resources we need to take every step necessary to protect the American people from the Zika virus,” the statement said.