CDC awards Indiana $766,000 in fight against Zika virus

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INDIANA—Indiana was awarded $766,000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight the Zika virus.

The CDC is allocating shares of about $60 million to cities in the U.S. in their effort to protect people from the disease.

“Our local, state and territorial health departments are on the front lines in the fight against Zika, and though the necessary funding that is needed isn’t yet available, we cannot wait to provide this essential support,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "These CDC funds will strengthen state and territorial capacity to respond to Zika virus, an increasingly concerning public health threat.”

The funding is in addition to the $25 million awarded on July 1 for the CDC’s response to the Zika outbreak.

The new funding will go to activities that help protect the health of the public, especially pregnant women. Serious birth defect microcephaly is an outcome of the infection. The money will also go towards strengthening laboratory capacity and improving mosquito control and monitoring.

Experts in Indiana say the chances of an outbreak here are very slim.

“Whenever we talk about Zika, we always stress the risks to people who are traveling to those areas, because right now, that is the primary concern people should have in Indiana," explained Marion County Health Department Mosquito Control Night Supervisor, Ryan Mercado.

Mercado said the species of mosquitoes where the Zika virus is present are rare in Central Indiana.

“This is more of a proactive thing. I think we’re trying to make sure we don’t have a problem going forward," he added.

The possibility of additional funds for mosquito control and monitoring, could mean health departments like Marion County, could receive better systems to track Zika virus carrying mosquitoes.

“There’s some challenges in terms of monitoring that sort of species in that they are active in the day primarily," Mercado said.

The virus primarily spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. However, the infection can spread through sex.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.

Right now, there's no breakdown for where the funds would go. The Indiana State Department of Health said it could be a few more weeks before those details are released.