The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it will likely deplete all funding by the end of September, as $200 million of the agency’s $222 million allocated funds has already been committed. The funding has supported states in tracking the virus, providing assistance about birth defects caused by Zika, and increasing mosquito-control efforts, in addition to testing all donated blood.
“The cupboard is bare,” said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC. “Basically, we’re out of money, and we need Congress to act to allow us to respond effectively.”
Dr. Frieden also noted that peak mosquito season is now in effect in the United States, continuing through October, and the agency will not have enough funds if local transmission occurs more broadly.
When Congress returned on September 5, however, the Senate voted down a bill to further funding for Zika-related research and outcomes. Senate Democrats said they moved to block the bill, as there was a provision that would block Planned Parenthood from receiving Zika-related funding. Lawmakers expect to discuss this funding issue later in the month, as a government shutdown could occur if an agreement is not reached by September 30.
Sources: CNN, September 6, 2016; The Washington Post, August 30, 2016; The New York Times, September 6, 2016.