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Maryland gets emergency preparedness money diverted for Zika

As federal health authorities plan how to dole out $1.1 billion in funding recently approved by Congress to address the threat of the Zika virus, states are beginning to see some of that money trickle down to them.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had diverted millions of dollars meant for emergency preparedness from the states to respond to Zika, which has infected 3,936 people in the mainland United States, including 836 pregnant women.

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Maryland, which has reported 103 cases of Zika, is now set to get $856,366 in funding out of the $44.25 million in Public health Emergency Preparedness money meant for states and territories.
CDC officials said the money can be used for any type of emergency preparedness, including Zika.

The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said most of the restored funds will go to local health departments for Zika-related and other activities. It will use some of the funds to support its own Zika response through the state Office of Preparedness & Response, Office of Information Technology and Prevention and Health Promotion Administration.

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Until now, Maryland and local health departments have used their own funds to distribute kits with mosquito repellent and larvicide to pregnant women most at risk from Zika, to hold educational events, and to spray for mosquitoes. The virus spread by mosquitoes cause microcephaly, a devastating birth defect in the fetuses of infected pregnant women, and other problems for babies and adults.

As for the rest of the federal money, officials said much of it wouldn't likely be distributed to federal and state agencies until the new year.

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