South Carolina awarded nearly $4.5 million from CDC to combat Zika virus

Female Aedes aegytpi mosquito. File/Provided

South Carolina has been awarded nearly $4.5 million from the federal government to combat the Zika virus.

The funding will support activities to protect public health, especially among pregnant women. Funds will also be used to improve mosquito control and monitoring, and strengthening laboratory capacity.

Money will also support participation in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to monitor pregnant women with Zika and their infants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that is awarding nearly $60 million to states, cities and territories to support efforts to protect Americans from Zika and the adverse health outcomes that can result from infection.

The new funding will be available Aug. 1 and distributed through the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes — both of which are found in South Carolina. There is no evidence that the mosquitoes in the state are carrying the virus.

The number of reported Zika cases among South Carolina residents continues to rise. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Thursday that there are have been 22 cases among residents. Only six cases had been confirmed in the state at the beginning of the month.

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, the CDC reported on July 1,that South Carolina was receiving $343,552 to combat the Zika virus, and another $9.2 million in emergency preparedness funding that could also be used.

At the time, DHEC spokesperson Robert Yanity said the money would be used for family planning and sexual transmission prevention, and creating educational strategies for health care providers, local government and the general public, among other uses.

“DHEC has established a response plan that includes communication, outreach and education components, and has established state, local and non-governmental partnerships aimed at protecting citizens and preventing the spread of Zika virus,” Yanity said in a statement.

Though money continues coming to the states, the CDC reiterated that a $1.8 billion funding measure is still the preferred way to fight the virus. The agency and President Barack Obama have been calling for the money since February.

“We hope Congress will provide the additional resources we need to fully support the Zika response,” CDC Director Tom Frieden wrote in Thursday’s press release.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.