ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) – A top U.S. health official says the congressional delay in approving money to fight Zika is impeding efforts to control the mosquitoes that transmit the virus, to find better tools to diagnose the disease and to develop a vaccine.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says epidemics can spread in days and weeks and that the sooner Congress acts the better.
The Obama administration has requested $1.9 billion for Zika. The Senate voted late Wednesday to begin talks with the House over differing funding measures. Neither meets the administration’s request.
Zika is spread by mosquitoes and can cause severe birth defects.
Frieden repeated CDC guidance that pregnant women shouldn’t travel to areas affected by the virus, including Brazil, site of the summer Olympics.