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Zika virus prevention efforts in the U.S. underway

Health workers in Brazil fumigate in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to organize efforts to combat the virus.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Spring is coming.

That means baseball, cherry blossoms and mosquitoes. Those mosquitoes are why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for a Zika virus summit at the White House on Friday.

The meeting is designed to help public health officials at all levels to “get out in front” of the virus.

“The core of the public health response is to prevent, detect and respond,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health.

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito are not at much risk, but there is a link between Zika and birth defects and a rare neurological disorder.

One important step is to protect ourselves from being bitten.

“That sounds easy, but in fact it’s really problematic,” said Maryn McKenna, a writer who covers emerging infections.

“Mosquito control in the United States is, the politest way to say it … highly unorganized and local. They are not under the control of the CDC and some of them are very underfunded.”

Federal officials may use this time before mosquito season to coordinate control efforts and invest in public health infrastructure. The president has asked Congress for nearly $2 billion in emergency funding. 

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