A collection of some of the most prominent medical groups have written a letter calling for Congress to pass legislation to provide the highest possible funding level for research, prevention, control and treatment of the Zika virus.

The signee’s include the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). They feel that funding should be commensurate with the health emergency that Zika represents. 

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With the arrival of summer, when Zika carrying mosquitoes are predicted to thrive, time is of the essence. The number of infected pregnant women in the US has increased; last week two CDC registries claimed to be following 279 infected pregnant women.

Congress has been working on Zika-specific legislation, but as of yet there has been no tangible decisions on funding and resources needed to combat the spread of the virus. “Every day that goes by without an agreement is a day where more patients will be at risk of being exposed to the virus,” the letter states.

Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, FACP, president of ACP, went as far as saying the situation could become “a full-blown public health emergency,” should the delay on funding continue.

The letter also advised against diverting funds from other essential health initiatives to combat the virus. Concerns were expressed in the letter for the maintenance of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services work on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

Congress denied a request of $1.9 billion from the president to tackle Zika, in February, and PBS recently reported that the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, thought the current House bill was inadequate to deal with the threat Zika poses.

For more information visit CDC.gov.