Memorial Day weekend heralds the start of mosquito season in the United States, and the United States had better do a good job of fighting mosquitoes this season.
Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), gave that warning Thursday in an appearance at the National Press Club. Frieden has been trying to persuade Congress to approve the CDC’s full $1.9 billion Zika prevention funding request.
The Senate has approved a $1.1 billion funding measure, and the House has used cuts in other health programs to come up with an offer of $622 million in funding.
Frieden said Zika is the first disease proven to cause birth defects in more than 50 years.
“We have a narrow window of opportunity to scale up effective Zika prevention measures,” Frieden said. “That window of opportunity is closing.”
A failure to act quickly could let a small problem because a much bigger problem, Frieden said.