HHS gives pediatric health group $350K to treat Zika

HHS gives pediatric health group $350K to treat Zika
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday announced $350,000 in funding to help the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) expand its capacity to care for children affected by the Zika virus.

The AAP is planning to use the additional funding to provide technical assistance and help educate clinicians at community health centers and other healthcare sites in areas like Puerto Rico and South Florida that are treating children who are or may be affected by the mosquito-borne virus.

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“Clinicians worldwide have limited experience caring for infants or children of women exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy, and no network exists to connect providers newly caring for these patients with one another and with those who have relevant expertise,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie said in a statement.

“The AAP effort can help us bridge this gap so that providers can learn from one another and are better prepared to support and care for their patients.”

While Zika is spread primarily through a mosquito bite, HHS said it can also be sexually transmitted.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the risk of a baby developing a severe brain defect could be as high as 13 percent among women infected with the Zika virus in the first trimester of pregnancy.

The additional funding from HHS comes two days after Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion funding bill to fight the virus.