The AHA today urged congressional negotiators to quickly pass a conference report that provides $1.1 billion in new funding to prevent local transmission of the Zika virus and develop a vaccine, rather than repurposing funds from other public health programs. “The prevention of Zika virus transmission is a sound investment, both in terms of preventing human suffering and in economic costs to government health programs,” AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said in a letter to House and Senate conferees. “Each infant with microcephaly is expected to require between $1 million to $10 million in care over a lifetime. If hundreds or thousands of infants in the United States are born with microcephaly, the costs would easily surpass $1.1 billion needed now for prevention.” The Senate last month agreed to add $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding to the fiscal 2017 appropriations package for transportation, housing and urban development, while the House agreed to repurpose $622.1 million in funding for Ebola and the Department of Health and Human Services for Zika. The conference committee working to reconcile the measures met this afternoon to consider amendments to the House bill (H.R. 2577).