10,690 cases of Zika have been reported in Puerto Rico, with the total expected to be 1,000,000 (1 in 4 Puerto Ricans) by the end of 2016. As of July, there are 6,400 confirmed cases of Zika in the USA, with 93 cases related to travel overseas reported in Texas. Puerto Rico is expected to experience the worst Zika outbreak among US states and territories due its tropical climate and minimal infrastructure for mosquito control.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact.
The CDC has confirmed that the Zika virus is responsible for causing severe defects in unborn children, including microcephaly, which leaves babies with abnormally small heads and often with brains that do not develop properly. The administration said on Thursday it had shifted $US81 million in funds from other projects to continue work on developing vaccines to fight Zika in the absence of any funding from United States lawmakers.
In light of the potential health risks associated with pregnancy and Zika, special emphasis will be placed on the importance of prevention of the infection in pregnant women.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects and is particularly risky for pregnant women.
In addition to the non-travel related cases, there were 10 new cases related to travel detected in Florida. Those cases stem from people who were infected elsewhere and brought the virus into Florida.
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It also allows Puerto Rico to temporarily reassign public health workers funded through Public Health Service Act programmes to assist in the Zika response.
The Canadian public health agency said it is aware of 13 confirmed cases of the virus in pregnant women in this country.
Zika is a virus transmitted by a specific type of mosquito, the Aedes aegypti species.
"This Administration is committed to meeting the Zika outbreak in Puerto Rico with the necessary urgency", Secretary Burwell said.
Mexico is known to have mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus, along with Florida, most of the Caribbean and Central and South America.
"It was only a matter of time before a Canadian was affected in this way from Zika", he said.
While he has expressed disappointment in Congress' failure to pass a broad Zika funding plan, Scott said state officials will "keep doing everything we can" to limit the outbreak.