MONTPELIER — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $200,000 to Vermont 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.
The funding will also help Vermont ensure that affected infants and their families are referred to appropriate health and social services. Finally, the award will enable Vermont to monitor over time the health and developmental outcomes of children affected by Zika.
“It is critical to identify infants affected by Zika so we can support them and their families,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This CDC funding provides real-time data about the Zika epidemic as it unfolds in the United States and territories and will help those most devastated by this virus.”
The funds will allow states and territories 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; and
· Expand access to examination of health and monitoring of developmental outcomes of children born to women with positive or inconclusive Zika virus test results.
The funds were provided to states and territories based on their risk of Zika virus transmission, population need, and availability of funds.
These funds are in addition to $25 million awarded on July 1 as part of CDC’s preparedness and response funding to areas at risk for outbreaks of Zika. Funding amounts for the 40 states and territories receiving the assistance range from $200,000-$720,000.
CDC has obligated more than half of the $222 million in repurposed funds available for the domestic Zika fight.
Overall, HHS has spent more than $201 million of the $374 million that was redirected for the domestic Zika fight in April.
Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), although Aedes aegypti are more likely to spread Zika.
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 complaints are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe defects 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.