The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $2.4 million to Chicago ($200,000), Houston ($400,000), New York City ($700,000), Philadelphia ($345,000), and Los Angeles County ($720,000) to establish, enhance, and maintain information-gathering systems to rapidly detect microcephaly–a serious birth defect of the brain–and other adverse outcomes linked to Zika virus infection.
This funding is in addition to the $16.4 million recently awarded to states and territories for surveillance of microcephaly and other adverse outcomes and will enable these local areas to participate in these important activities in coordination with state efforts. The funds will allow these local areas to:
- Enhance information-gathering to carry out strategies for real-time, population-based monitoring for microcephaly and other birth defects caused by Zika virus
- Enhance capacity development through partner collaboration and infrastructure improvements
- Provide referral of infants and families to health and social resources
- Participate in CDC data reporting
- Expand access to examination of health and monitoring of developmental outcomes of children born to women with positive or inconclusive Zika virus test results
As of August 26, CDC had obligated more than $193 million of the repurposed funds available for Zika preparedness, including over $110 million to support state, territorial, and local jurisdictions fight Zika. As of August 26, HHS has obligated $264 million of the $374 million redirected for the domestic Zika response.
Surveillance and referral to services for infants with microcephaly or other adverse outcomes linked with the Zika virus in local areas will be supported through three complementary approaches:
- The $16.4 million award in early August to states and territories for the surveillance of microcephaly and other adverse outcomes
- The $2.4 million award announced today, which will enable highly populated jurisdictions to participate in surveillance of microcephaly and other adverse outcomes in coordination with state efforts
- CDC also recently awarded $5.5 million to support the expansion of the public health emergency response capacity at the local level to report on Zika-exposed pregnant women, their developing fetuses, pregnancy outcomes and live-born infants. Information on how to apply for support will be made available to local health departments.
Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (specifically, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). Zika infection can also be spread by infected men and women to their sex partners. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika and many people infected with Zika have no symptoms. Of those who do have symptoms, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalities in the developing fetus.
CDC encourages everyone, especially pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant, to protect themselves from mosquito bites to avoid possible Zika virus infection.