CDC Confirms 279 Pregnant Women in U.S. Are Infected With Zika Virus as Congress Fails to Allocate Enough Funding (Video)
President Barack Obama met with top public health officials at the White House Friday amid growing concerns over the Zika virus. Earlier in the day, the Centers for Disease Control revealed that at least 279 pregnant women are infected by the virus—a figure three times higher than previously reported.
The CDC noted the numbers are higher because this was the first survey to count women who tested positive for Zika but have yet to display symptoms. Fewer than six of the 279 women have reported problems with their pregnancy, but Margaret Honein, chief of the CDC’s birth defects branch, warned that the numbers will increase over time.
“Recently published reports indicate that some pregnant women with laboratory evidence of a recent Zika infection but without symptoms have delivered infants with microcephaly and other serious brain defects,” the CDC said in a statement.
On Friday, Obama expressed frustration over Congress’ slow reaction time; back in February, the president requested $1.8 billion to help fight the spread of Zika.
“Congress needs to get me a bill,” President Obama said. “It needs to get me a bill that has sufficient funds to do the job,” noting that health officials monitoring the disease requested the money. “We didn’t just choose $1.9 billion from the top of our heads,” he added.
The White House threatened to veto separate legislation in the House and Senate over insufficient funding to combat the virus. The Senate offered up $1.1 billion, while the House voted to provide $622 million.
Watch President Obama speaking about the Zika crisis from the White House Friday: