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Zika Virus Bound to Spread Across U.S. in Upcoming Months

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By now, everybody has heard about the Zika virus epidemic spreading through the South and Central Americas. It has been a topic of concern for so long that the discussion seems to have quieted down. But shouldn't we still be paying attention to a virus that has potential massive consequences? Top health officials believe the Zika virus will likely begin spreading throughout the U.S. "in the next month or so." Though the spread of the virus is travel-related, mosquitos in the U.S. can pick up the disease from people who have traveled and infect citizens who haven't even left the country. None of the 500 reported cases in the U.S. were locally transmitted by mosquitos, but it's only a matter of time before this scenario could become a potential reality. [caption id="attachment_4860" align="aligncenter" width="930"]Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 2.25.44 PM Map of reported cases in each state as of May 25, 2016.[/caption] Zika virus is primarily spread through infected mosquitos but can also be spread through unprotected sex. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, many people who contract the virus don't experience symptoms extreme enough to send them to the hospital, meaning most people are unaware they've been infected. This is an issue because contraction of the virus by pregnant women can lead to serious fetal brain defects. New numbers from the CDC reveal that more than 150 pregnant women in the U.S. have been infected with the Zika virus. With the beginning of summer and mosquito season coming around, pregnant women in the US are at a high risk of getting the virus. The Center for American Progress estimates that more than 2 million pregnant women in the U.S are at risk of becoming infected with Zika virus this summer and fall. Unfortunately, unless public health officials take action to prevent local and national outbreaks of the virus, this number has a chance of coming true. President Obama has asked Congress to set aside more than one billion dollars in emergency funding to stop the spread of the virus. What are your thoughts on how medical professionals and leaders can prevent Zika from spreading?
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