FDA Advises Testing for Zika Virus, Barrack Obama Requests Funding

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has weighed in to advise testing donated blood for Zika virus:

The FDA is updating its guidance after careful consideration of all available scientific evidence, consultation with other public health agencies, and taking into consideration the potential serious health consequences of Zika virus infection to pregnant women and children born to women exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy.

Testing of donated blood is already underway in Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as in other areas, and it has shown to be beneficial in identifying donations infected with Zika virus. Expanded testing will continue to reduce the risk for transmission of Zika virus through the U.S. blood supply and will be in effect until the risk of transfusion transmission of Zika virus is reduced.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports 2517 mainland cases and 9011 cases of Zika virus in US territories as of August 18, 2016. For pregnant women, the CDC reports 584 mainland cases and 812 cases in US territories as of August 18, 2016. The CDC has released this map to show where infections have taken place.


According to the CDC, these are the main facts about Zika:

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito … These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
  • The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes.

Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with smaller heads and brains than expected. The CDC says the causes of microcephaly “in most babies are unknown.” However, “Some babies with microcephaly have been reported among mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant,” and that is “enough evidence” to declare Zika a cause of the condition.

There is no cure for microcephaly. Treatment focuses upon “ways to decrease the impact of the associated deformities and neurological disabilities.” Early intervention with speech and physical therapy may help to “maximize” abilities. Unfortunately, many or most cases are severe.

Today, Barrack Obama requested funding for “mosquito control, tracking the spread of the virus, accelerating new diagnostic tests in vaccines, and monitoring women and babies with the virus.”

Barrack Obama complained that Republicans refused to provide funding months ago, and now “Congress has been on a seven week recess without doing anything to protect Americans.”

According to NBC News:

Obama asked for $1.9 billion in funding to fight the virus. Republicans in Congress refused, offering counter-proposals with part of that funding, and finally offering a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, a move calculated to torpedo the bill as Democrats refused to support it.