Fauci: ‘We can’t take our eye off the ball with Ebola’

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The head of infectious disease research at the National Institutes of Health said on Sunday the U.S. still needs to focus on the battle against the Ebola virus, criticizing those who have said the money left over from the fight against Ebola could be put toward the Zika virus.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball with Ebola,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”

{mosads}President Obama has pushed for Congress to pass $1.9 billion in emergency funding to tackle the Zika virus ahead of the summer. Both chambers acted last week, with the Senate approving a bipartisan compromise of $1.1 billion and the House approving $622 million.

House Republicans have said there’s money left over from the battle against the Ebola virus that can be used to fight Zika.

But Fauci called that a “spurious argument.”

“We are not finished with Ebola,” he said in an interview Sunday.

“I mean, we may not see in the front pages of the newspapers, and the major outbreak is certainly not there anymore. But we have the danger of cropping up of Ebola, and we’ve just seen recently over the last several weeks cases that far down the pike from the original infection are transmitted, including by sexual transmission.”

He said using the funds from Ebola to tackle Zika would be “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“And I think it’s very foolhardy to do that,” he said.

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