Fight against zika continues

Fight against zika continues

Amid growing cases of zika infection across the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has University of Florida researchers with a $10 million grant to find ways to stop zika-like diseases from becoming widespread in the nation.

University officials confirmed yesterday that the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease’s Gateway Program received the grant from the CDC for leading a new research program focused at stopping diseases like zika.

The grant to the university is part of $184 million that the federal agency has set aside to fund universities, state governments and local governments for tackling such epidemics.

In Delaware alone, health officials have confirmed one and half a dozen cases of zika infection, with all of those found to be the result of people traveling to affected areas like Puerto Rico, which reported more than 34,000 locally transmitted cases.

Hotspots for honeymoons and vacations, such as the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and Saint Lucia, are also in the grip of the epidemic.

Zika is a mosquito-borne illness, characterized by symptoms like fever, rash, red eyes and joint pain. The devastating virus can transmit through mosquito bites or via sexual intercourse. Pregnant women are particularly at risk as the virus can cause serious birth defects.