Obama Administration Declares Public Health Emergency In Puerto Rico Over Zika Virus
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico on Friday because of the Zika virus, sending a message to the island that the virus, which has infected more than 10,000 residents, should be taken seriously.
There have been 10,690 cases of Zika confirmed in Puerto Rico, including infections in 1,035 pregnant women. Dozens more are infected every day. Cases of Zika infection are expected to keep rising through October, and by year’s end, a quarter of the island’s population of 3.5 million will have been exposed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The emergency status will give local health officials more tools to battle the virus, including the ability to reassign health workers to help fight Zika, and the chance for funding to hire and train unemployed workers to help fight the mosquitoes that carry the virus.