Zika funding 'all about pregnant women,' Rick Scott says

Posted September 30, 2016

Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito and it can also be spread sexually. The Aug. 30 travel alert urged pregnant women to avoid travelling to Singapore, not just consider postponing nonessential travel.

With $1.1 billion to fight Zika tucked into a stopgap spending bill, Florida's USA senators said Wednesday that a more aggressive approach was coming to the virus touching nearly 1,000 people in their state.

Thailand has been investigating four cases of microcephaly, the rare birth defect in which a baby is born with a significantly smaller head than normal, to see if it is linked with Zika. But infection during pregnancy can causes severe brain-related birth defects. "This is all about pregnant women and making sure that they have healthy babies".

These countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam. It's travellers coming from the United States that the CDC is concerned about, especially since "recent variations have been observed in the number of cases reported" in the region.

The confirmation came a day after USA health officials recommended that pregnant women postpone nonessential travel to 11 Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, because of the risk of mosquito-borne Zika.

"Every day that Congress fails to act, more cases are diagnosed in our state", Scott said.

On August 1, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel warning for South Florida, specifically in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood and Miami Beach. An estimated 80% of people infected have no symptoms, making it hard for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

Scientists have known about the virus since 1947 and have occasionally documented cases in Africa and Asia, but they only discovered the risks it poses to fetuses when it started to spread rapidly in the Americas in 2015.

A state biomedical council has developed a plan to solicit research for vaccine development and new diagnostic tests against Zika using $25 million in state funding.

Earlier this month, the governor said Nelson "turned his back on Florida citizens" by joining other Democrats in blocking a Republican Zika funding bill that included unrelated provisions they oppose.