Zika virus “scarier than thought” says US
The Zika virus is “scarier” than first thought and its impact on the US could be greater than predicted, public health officials have admitted.
A wider range of birth defects has been linked to the virus, said Dr Anne Schuchat of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And the mosquitoes that carry the virus could travel to more US states than previously thought, she said.
The current Zika outbreak began almost a year ago in Brazil.
It has been linked to thousands of birth defects in the Americas.
“Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring,” said Dr Schuchat at White House briefing on Monday.
“Everything we know about this virus seems to be scarier than we initially thought.”
Earlier this year, US President Obama asked the US Congress for $1.8bn (£1.25bn) in emergency funding to combat the virus.
In the meantime it has been using money totalling $589m left over from the Ebola virus fund.
That was a temporary stopgap and inadequate to get the job done, said Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
The US now needs more money to fight the mosquitoes and to fund better research into vaccines and treatments, he said.
“When the president asked for $1.9 billion, we needed $1.9 billion.”
Without want to be alarmist, he said there had been recent discoveries about how destructive Zika appeared to be to foetal brains.
The Zika virus has been confirmed to cause a rare birth defect called microcephaly and other severe problems of the brain, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials across the globe have suspected for months a link between the virus and the birth defect, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. Officials said today the evidence is overwhelming that exposure to virus in utero causes the birth defect.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden called the news a “turning point” in a fight against the virus that has continued to spread throughout the Americas.
“It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly,” Frieden said. “We’ve now confirmed what mounting evidence has suggested, affirming our early guidance to pregnant women and their partners to take steps to avoid Zika infection and to health care professionals who are talking to patients every day. We are working to do everything possible to protect the American public.”
roll up, roll up..roll up your sleeves..to protect you..
“It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly,”
only took them a few months to define this..thorough testing?