Schumer calls on feds to fight Zika virus

Posted at 9:57 AM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 09:57:35-05

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced a three-point plan to help fight the Zika virus. Schumer said it's important for health officials to act now before mosquito season takes hold.

Schumer wants the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to declare a health emergency when it comes to the Zika virus. He said that emergency status would help better fight the virus abroad before it spreads any further. Schumer's also asking the U.S. Agency for International Development to prioritize and increase its involvement in Zika-affected countries. Finally, he's calling on the Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) and National Institute of Health (N.H.I.) to develop a vaccine for Zika. Currently, there isn't one.

The mosquito-borne virus is especially troubling for pregnant women because it can cause birth defects. The virus has been linked to microcephaly, which can leave newborns with unusually small heads and abnormal brain development.

“With at least five Zika cases already in New York, the feds must pull out all the stops to vanquish this dangerous virus as soon as possible,” said Schumer.  “The feds should deploy all possible resources to prevent, contain and treat Zika virus abroad; expeditiously develop either a cure or medication to treat Zika virus; and declare a public health emergency. Together, this three point plan will help to beat back the Zika virus globally before future individuals, including pregnant women, are affected.”

New York State is also taking steps to educate the public on the virus. N.Y.S. Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is hosting a webinar on Monday. It’s scheduled for 1 p.m.

For more information on Monday's webinar, click here.




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