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Amid growing Zika concerns, NC government plans to fight virus

Posted April 11
Updated April 12

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— Health officials across the country are raising new concerns over the spread of the Zika virus and Gov. Pat McCrory announced a plan Monday to get ahead of the disease before there is an outbreak in North Carolina.

Federal health officials admit they are worried about the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

“Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we originally thought,” said Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control Dr. Anne Schuchat.

The Zika virus, linked to birth defects in children, is spreading and the CDC expects an explosive number of cases in Puerto Rico.

In the continental U.S., there are more than 60 confirmed cases, but, it turns out, the mosquito that carries Zika is more common than experts thought.

“So, instead of about 12 states, where the mosquito Aedes aegypti is present, we believe about 30 states have the mosquito present,” said Schuchat.

McCrory said state health officials are working to prevent the spread of the virus.

There are eight confirmed Zika cases in North Carolina and all of them have been associated with travel to other places.

In his budget proposal, announced Monday afternoon, McCrory said he plans to add $750,000 to battle the virus.

“The North Carolina state lab is one of the few in the country that is able to test for this virus,” McCrory said. “Our team was instrumental in building a plan to prepare the nation for Zika.”

The White House recently redirected nearly $590 million to combat Zika. A majority of that money had been designated to fight Ebola.

Possible vaccines are being developed to fight the virus and testing could start later this year. Currently, pregnant women are urged to avoid travel to areas that are hardest hit by Zika.

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