Illinois to receive federal funds to fight Zika

Illinois receives $500,000 federal grant to fight Zika virus

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Illinois will receive more than $500,000 in federal aid to help fight the mosquito-born Zika virus.

The Zika virus produces flu like symptoms in most, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the virus can effect pregnant women and lead to a birth defect called microcephaly.

Bart Hagston, Jackson County Health Department director of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness, said the money will likely be used to prepare the state in fighting the Zika virus in the future.

"Hopefully it will lead to the state health department implementing some new procedures, buying new lab equipment, things like that," Hagston said. "That can hopefully help the whole state be more prepared for Zika."

According to the Associated Press, $350,000 will go to state's public health department, and another $200,000 to the City of Chicago Public Health Department.

Hagston said funds likely won't trickle down to the county level, but will likely be used to ready the state in the fight against the virus.

He said mosquito-born illnesses, such as the West Nile virus, are higher for county health departments because they pose more of an immediate risk.

"Right now Zika is a fairly low priority for us," Hagston said.

The virus has not been found to occur in mosquitoes in the United States. All cases diagnosed in the U.S. were from people who had traveled internationally.

"We are certainly in a time when public health resources are stretched thin," Hagston said. "So, that means we have to prioritize our spending."

A federal debate continues over a $1 billion plan to fight the Zika virus.

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