Texas will receive $563,000 of about $60 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help battle Zika virus disease and its adverse health outcomes, including the birth defect microcephaly.
The stopgap funding is in addition to $25 million awarded on July 1 as part of CDC’s preparedness and response funding to states, cities and territories in areas at risk for outbreaks of Zika.
On Aug. 1, CDC also will award another $10 million to quickly identify cases of microcephaly and other adverse birth outcomes linked to Zika and to refer affected infants and families to services.
The new Zika funding is being distributed through CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement (ELC). The ELC supports various federal projects to strengthen the ability of domestic public health departments to respond to emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats.
The Obama Administration has requested $1.9 billion that public health experts identified as necessary to combat Zika and protect the homeland, but the budget has not been approved by Congress.
“Our local, state and territorial health departments are on the front lines in the fight against Zika, and though the necessary funding that is needed isn’t yet available, we cannot wait to provide this essential support,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “These CDC funds will strengthen state and territorial capacity to respond to Zika virus, an increasingly concerning public health threat.”
The new funding will support activities to protect the health of the American public, especially pregnant women, through epidemiologic surveillance and investigation, strengthening laboratory capacity, and improving mosquito control and monitoring.
Funding also will support participation in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to monitor pregnant women with Zika and their infants as well as Zika-related activities in U.S.-Mexico border states.
In addition to the Zika funding, Texas will receive an additional $4 million through FY16 ELC funding for: activities related to antimicrobial resistant bacteria; foodborne disease prevention and tracking; setting up health coordinators to track vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough; rapid detection of and response to the antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea threat; and building capacity for bioinformatics to more quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks.
For more information on CDC’s ELC Cooperative Agreement and the breakdown of FY16 funding, visit the ELC webpage at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dpei/epidemiology-laboratory-capacity.html.