Sen. Schumer announces plan to fight Zika Virus

Aedes aegypti mosquito
FILE - This 2006 file photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. The The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, announced new guidance for doctors whose pregnant patients may have traveled to regions with a tropical illness linked to birth defects. Officials say doctors should ask pregnant women about their travel and certain symptoms, and, if warranted, test them for an infection with the Zika virus. The virus is spread through mosquito bites. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

NEW YORK (WIVB) – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has announced a new call for action to stop the spread of the Zika Virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects.

The virus is spread by a certain type of mosquito that can be found as far north as downstate New York, so Schumer is urging groups to do something to stop the spread before the warm summer months arrive.

The New York Democrat recently released a three point plan:

  1. He’s calling on the federal government to increase its involvement in Zika-affected countries.
  2. He’s urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to develop a Zika vaccine.
  3. He’s pushing for the World Health Organization to publicly declare a health emergency.

“A stitch in time saves nine,” Schumer said, when he announced that three-point plan. “We all remember when people reacted too late to Ebola. And there was a lot of fear. They caught up with it finally, and it didn’t spread. But we don’t even want to have to go through that with Zika. We want to stop it before it gets here.”

There have already been a handful of confirmed Zika cases in New York State, including one in Monroe County. All of the cases in New York involve people who caught the virus while they were traveling. There have been no cases of local transmission at this point.

Still, the Erie County Health Department has issued a health alert to all local physicians, informing them about the virus’ symptoms and the protocols for testing suspected cases.

New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker will hold a webinar Monday, February 1 at 1 pm, to discuss the Zika virus.

To register for the webinar, go to: provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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