Zika funding to be split among CDC, NIH, emergency fund

Government funding
Government funding

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Two weeks after Congress allocated $1.1 billion in supplemental funding to fight Zika, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today during a teleconference how the pie of Zika funding will be sliced among major players.

According to Caitlyn Miller, director of the division of discretionary programs for HHS, $394 million will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), $152 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and $387 million toward the public health and social services emergency fund.

Within that $387 million, $75 million will be used to reimburse healthcare providers who treat uninsured Zika patients, $40 million will be used to expand Zika resources in US territories, and $20 million will go to regional and national projects, such as creating microcephaly registries.

Stephen Redd, MD, director of the office of public health preparedness and response for the CDC said the supplemental funding will allow the center to increase by $44.25 million the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) fund. That money will be dispersed to 62 jurisdictions, including all 50 states, some major cities, and US territories. According to remarks made at the teleconference, this money won't be available until the first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year.

Florida, the only state where active transmission of the virus is occurring, will receive $2.7 million in PHEP funds, according to the CDC. So far this year, the state has received $34 million in federal dollars to fight the mosquito-borne illness.

Sherri Berger, MSPH, the CDC's chief operations officer, said the organization was finalizing its spending plan for the supplemental funding, with priority going to Zika response efforts and enhanced microcephaly surveillance. Berger also said Zika vaccine development and general vector-borne disease research will get funding.

New travel-related cases in Florida

Today the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) said there were six new travel-related cases in the state, one involving a pregnant woman. There were three locally acquired cases, all linked to the Miami Beach transmission area.

Florida Health said there were now 744 travel-related cases of Zika in the state, and 163 locally acquired cases. The department reports that 109 pregnant women have Zika, but it's not clear how many are locally acquired cases.

Virus in female genital track

Finally today, a letter published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases describes the Zika virus in the genital tract of a French woman who transmitted the disease to her partner. This is the second documented case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the virus.

The woman had contracted Zika while traveling to Guadalupe. Researchers said Zika virus was detected in a cervical swab on day 11 after symptom onset. By day 17 it was cleared from vaginal secretions but still detected in her urine.

Previous reports have shown that Zika virus remains in semen 32 to 41 days after symptoms begin. This new information contributes to the understanding of sexual transmission of Zika.

"These data should be used to change recommendations for prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus," the authors wrote.

See also:

Oct 18 Florida Health update

Oct 18 Lancet letter

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