Obama Pushes For Zika Funding After Increased Cases Among Pregnant Women In US

First Posted: May 21, 2016 06:30 AM EDT

President Barack Obama has urged the Congress to pass the Zika funding bill after reports revealed that 279 pregnant women in the United States have been infected by the virus.

Health officials have recently confirmed that several pregnant women based in the United States and US territories have been found to be positive for the dreaded Zika virus, Reuters stated in its report.

The situation has alarmed President Obama and he immediately sought for funding to respond to the spreading virus.

In an interview with USA Today, he said: "This is something that is solvable. This is not something we need to panic about. But this is something we have to take seriously."

Obama made the call for additional funds after his meeting with public safety advisers on Friday. He told reporters that scientists are still in the process of identifying the scopes and effects of Zika virus, which is said to mainly bring birth defects to babies and miscarriages among women.

The Senate pledged US$1.1 billion for Zika. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has voted to re-channel about $622.1 million from the Ebola virus program. Lawmakers have yet to decide on the actual funding in the fight against Zika virus. Obama has expressed, however, that he would veto the plan of the House of Representatives.

The total number of reported cases of Zika in the United States and US territories is 544. Pregnant women are closely monitored given the risks that come with the virus.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said they will issue reports on a regular basis, weekly if possible.

CDC's Dr. Margaret Honei said this means there is a need to cast "a broad net to make sure we are monitoring all pregnant women who may be at risk for poor outcomes associated with Zika.

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