The AHA today urged congressional leaders to provide $1.1 billion in new funding to combat the Zika virus. “Now that Zika is locally-transmitted in the United States, the challenge we face is preventing the virus from taking permanent hold, not only in Florida, but in half of the country,” AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels wrote. “…We urge Congress to act now to prevent further transmission. With adequate funding, state and local public health departments would be able to respond with robust mosquito abatement programs, enhanced laboratory, epidemiology, and surveillance capacity and surge capacity through rapid response teams to limit transmission. Funding also would ensure that the development of a vaccine, diagnostic tests and treatments moves forward as quickly as possible.” As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported 43 locally-acquired cases of Zika virus and 2,920 travel-related cases in the U.S.