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The World Health Organization is now classifying the Zika virus as a long-term challenge on par with other mosquito-borne illnesses. But the agency says the declaration does not lessen the threat of the disease, which is spreading throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded more than $16 million to 40 states and territories to establish, enhance, and maintain information-gathering systems to rapidly detect microcephaly–a serious birth defect of the brain–and other adverse outcomes caused by Zika virus infection. These awards are a stopgap diverted from other public health resources until Zika funds are provided by Congress.
Congress on Wednesday agreed to allocate $1.1 billion to help fight the spread and effects of the Zika virus.
The deal is part of a broader agreement to continue to fund the government after the fiscal year ends on Friday and the current budget expires.