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US Congress pushes bill to fight Zika virus

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Lawmakers at the US House of Representatives have passed a bill to provide more than 600 million dollars to help fight the spread of the Zika virus.

The approved fund is far below President Barack Obama’s request and the Senate’s 1.1 billion dollar legislation.

Overall, Obama had requested $1.9 billion three months ago, according to AP.

“It’s just not enough,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said of the House measure. “It doesn’t give Americans the protections they deserve, and with every day of delay it gets harder to do this.”

The money would be spent on stemming the spread of Zika, as well as helping the countries which are already dealing with the infectious disease.

Zika can cause serious harm to unborn babies and has been linked to brain deformities in newborn babies.

Last month, US health officials confirmed, after long debates and months of uncertainty, that Zika causes microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

Back on February 5, US government officials warned that the spread of Zika to the country could get worse, a day after the state of Florida declared a public health emergency over the virus.

The warning by the CDC came as the mosquito-borne virus has generated increasing concern in the United States.

Zika is spreading rapidly in the Americas, and has been linked to a spike in birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil.

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