Doctor Supports Zika Virus Funding
Senator Chuck Schumer’s push for $1.9 billion in Emergency Funding to address the Zika Virus comes just before the first warm weather season in the U.S. since the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued its warning. They concluded there is a link between the virus in pregnant women and birth defects seen in Brazil. Locally, the Chief of Infectious disease at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Dr. Timothy Endy, feels the money to combat the virus is necessary.
“You know, Senator Schumer’s effort is noble, and certainly very important,” Endy said. “You know, I think control measures for mosquitos, especially with all the different things that can be spread by that, is incredibly important.”
Endy says the 60 confirmed Zika cases in New York State is likely because residents travelled on vacation to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Islands and the Dominican Republic. He says Zika is sweeping through the Caribbean.
“The concern would be that a traveler coming back, who is infected with Zika, who has virus in their blood, would be bitten by a mosquito here in the United States, and get into the mosquito population, thus being able to travel and infect other people who have never left the U.S.”
Endy adds the type of mosquitoes that carry Zika can also be found in certain parts of the U.S. including Florida, the Southern U.S. and parts of Southern California. He encourages women to get their blood checked for Zika when they return home. Travelling men should also take note.
“If you’re a male and you develop a fever on your way back, or while there, or coming back and you think you might have gotten Zika, there is a concern because it can be sexually transmitte,” Endy said. “So your partner, whether male or female, would be at risk if you are having Zika being transmitted in your body fluids.”
A blood test for Zika in males is also available. So far more than 800 people in the U.S. have been infected with Zika. Endy says a cousin to the type of mosquito that carries Zika have been found in southern parts of the State, including Long Island.