Nearly 500 New Yorkers — including 49 pregnant women — have tested positive for the Zika virus, a more than tenfold increase since April, city officials said Tuesday.
Five of the 483 victims contracted the virus through sex.
The others are believed to have been infected from mosquito bites while traveling outside the United States — a majority in the Dominican Republic.
While no transmissions have been reported via local mosquitoes, Mayor de Blasio and other officials urged Congress to pass a stalled health package to provide resources to combat the virus before it becomes a full-bore crisis.
“We need the federal government to act now and pass the authorization of $1.9 billion in funding,” de Blasio said at the city’s public health lab in Kips Bay. “Without federal dollars, we cannot deepen our work and we won’t have the assurance that other jurisdictions are doing all they can do to fight Zika.”
The majority of the cases have been found in women — 340 compared to 143 men — and one infant was born with a birth defect that results in a smaller head, known as microcephaly.
“A public health crisis that begins with neglect by the public sector . . . becomes much more difficult to address going forward,” said state Assemblyman
Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan), who joined the mayor in advocating for federal funds.