Zika virus spreads to people primarily through certain mosquitoes. The CDC has awarded $25 million in funding to states, cities and territories to support efforts to protect Americans from Zika virus infection and associated adverse health outcomes. Photo by Kitsadakron_Photography/Shutterstock
ATLANTA, July 3 (UPI) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $25 million to help 53 states, cities and territories protect Americans from the Zika virus infection and associated adverse health problems, including birth defects.
The funding became available Friday and can be used through June 2017.
The CDC funding criteria was based on risk of local transmission, history of outbreaks and size of the population. The CDC did not list any specific agencies that would receive funding.
The CDC said the funds can be used to identify and investigate a possible outbreak of Zika in their communities, coordinate response across all levels of government and non-governmental partners, and and identify and connect families affected by Zika to community services. Funding can also be used to purchase repellent, screens and supplies.
"These CDC funds will enable states and territories to strengthen their Zika preparedness and response plans," said Dr. Stephen C. Redd, director of CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. "Although the continental United States has not yet seen local transmission of the Zika virus, mosquito season is here, and states must continue to both work to prevent transmission and prepare for their first local case."
The funding comes as the Obama Administration continues to press Congress for $1.9 billion to research and develop a vaccine against the virus.
"We didn't draw that figure from the clouds -- it was based on the assessment of our scientists and our experts in terms of what was going to be needed for basic mosquito abatement and vaccine development, and making sure that we've got the proper diagnostic tools so that we can respond effectively to protect the health and safety of the American people," the president said Friday from the Oval Office.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected a $1.1 billion plan attached to a military spending bill that would have also stopped money to Planned Parenthood and allowed the Confederate flag to be displayed at veterans' cemeteries.
The CDC found seven babies have been born in the United States with Zika since June 23.