Zika

Nearly 200 cases of Zika in US; officials press for funds

People read information on Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at the Department of Health in San Juan, January 27, 2016. Puerto Rico is to release a report on Zika cases on the island this week which will show that around 18 cases are confirmed, the U.S. territory's health secretary Ana Rius told reporters on Tuesday. REUTERS/Alvin Baez   - RTX24BP6

People read information on Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at the Department of Health in San Juan, January 27, 2016. Puerto Rico is to release a report on Zika cases on the island this week which will show that around 18 cases are confirmed, the U.S. territory's health secretary Ana Rius told reporters on Tuesday. REUTERS/Alvin Baez - RTX24BP6

Nearly 200 cases of Zika infection have been reported in the U.S. - all traced to travel abroad.

Health officials released the numbers Thursday, and pleaded for Congress to provide $1.9 billion to fight the virus in Latin America and help prevent it from spreading to the continental U.S.

Some of the money would go to Puerto Rico, where Zika is spreading locally and 159 cases have been reported.

Capitol Hill Republicans have deferred the request, insisting leftover Ebola funds can be used. Health officials say new funding is needed.

Zika virus is mainly spread through mosquito bites. At worst, it causes only mild symptoms. But there's growing evidence linking it to a rare birth defect and to a nerve condition that causes temporary paralysis.

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