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Zika Virus Could Be More Harmful to the US Than Expected

Everything You Know About the Zika Virus Could Be "Scarier" Than Expected

News of the Zika virus epidemic has already been cause for alarm, especially for expecting mothers, due to its harmful effects on fetuses. But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus may be a bigger threat to the US than first predicted.

At a recent White House briefing, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC announced that the mosquitos carrying the virus could travel more widely throughout the US. "Most of what we've learned is not reassuring," said Dr. Schuchat. "Everything we know about this virus seems to be scarier than we initially thought."

Neurological effects aren't only limited to fetuses. The first case of locally transmitted Zika in the US was in February of this year, which was spread through sexual contact — not mosquitos — in Dallas.

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Since the first outbreak nearly a year ago in Brazil, there have been 346 confirmed cases in the US, all spread by travel. Thousands of birth defects have also been a consequence of Zika and the nation is in need of more funding for research, treatments, and vaccines. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the general public would begin to have access to the vaccine by the start of 2018, at the very earliest.

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