Rep. Chris Stewart proposes using funds allocated for Ebola research in fight against Zika virus

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The WHO anticipates the Zika virus will likely spread to all but two countries in South, Central and North America. The mosquito-borne disease has raged in South America and other regions for several

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Chris Stewart wants to make sure Congress is doing its part to keep the Zika virus from spreading.

Stewart, a Republican representing Utah’s Second District, said experts fear the virus will continue to spread faster with the Rio Olympic Games coming up this summer.

Stewart says his bill, which would unlock more than a billion dollars for the CDC and National Institute of Health, would ensure the agencies had the resources they need to research and combat the virus.

“Congress has already allocated funding to fight many of the world’s infectious diseases, like Ebola, and I want to make sure this funding can also be used to combat the Zika virus,” Stewart said.

The Zika Response and Safety Act would allow federal agencies to use funds allocated for Ebola research in the fight against the Zika virus, according to a press release from Stewart’s office. Stewart states that of the $2.4 billion allocated for Ebola research, about $1.4 billion was unused as of September of 2015.

While most adults get over Zika easily, it is believed to cause birth defects in pregnant women. Symptoms include fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes.

Expectant moms with any symptoms should see their doctor for testing.