Agency discloses first findings on deadly epidemic’s spread into the U.S. ahead of summer months
No walls or sloganized rhetoric will stop the spread: the Zika virus has officially begun it’s infiltration into the U.S.
It was announced Friday morning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 157 pregnant women in the United States and another 122 in U.S. territories have tested positive for infection from the Zika virus.
The announcement marks the first time that the agency had disclosed the number of infected pregnant women in the U.S. and it’s controlled territories with the disease, which first began with an early 2015 outbreak in northeast Brazil.
Health officials have stressed repeatedly that it was a matter of time before the virus made its way north, warning in early Spring that mosquitoes carrying the virus would make many cities and regions highly susceptible.
It is not presently known where in the country the infected cases are concentrated, however earlier reports warned that the cities with the highest potential risk include Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee in Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana.
It is believed at the time that all of the U.S. infections occurred in women who had traveled abroad or, in rare cases, were infected by sexual partners previously exposed to the disease.
Health officials said previously that the virus, spread through mosquitos and sexual contact, causes microcephaly, the birth defect distinguished by a small head size which leads to severe developmental problems in babies.
President Obama is currently engaged in a partisan battle with congressional Republicans in his pursuit of $1.9 billion to fight the epidemic, which has caused GOP Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio to break ranks with his party, saying “I hope there is a real urgency about dealing with this. There is no such thing as a Republican position on Zika or a Democrat position on Zika because these mosquitoes bite everyone. And they’re not going to ask you what your party registration is or who you plan to vote for in November.”