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FEATURING CHRISTINE GRIMALDI – Two babies with neurological birth defects related to the dreaded Zika virus have been born in California, authorities announced late last week. The cases have emerged only weeks after a cluster of Zika infections were discovered in a Miami suburb in Florida, prompting fears that the virus has finally arrived onto US shores. In fact, Puerto Rico has already been hit hard by the virus but with poor media coverage of the US colony that fact has been slow to trickle into the public sphere.

The Obama Administration has requested $1.9 billion in funding to combat the mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted virus, whose spread and health impact is still not fully understood. But Congressional Republicans have refused to comply, instead approving funding that falls well short of what is needed. Their recalcitrance may be based on the fact that Zika is a reproductive health issue.

The virus is largely harmless to most humans. But pregnant women who become infected risk their fetuses being born with abnormally deformed brains, a condition called Microcephaly. Congress is now in recess, leaving the public vulnerable to political inaction.

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Christine Grimaldi, Federal Policy Reporter with Rewire News.

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