NJ health officials warn public of Zika virus danger

New Jersey officials say that the Zika virus poses a large threat to the state.

New Jersey officials say that the Zika virus poses a large threat to the state. (4/29/16)

HACKENSACK - Health officials in the Garden State are warning New Jersey residents about the potential dangers of the Zika virus.

Zika was originally thought to only affect monkeys, but has become a worldwide health crisis in humans.

In New Jersey, nine people have or have had the virus. Some fear those numbers could increase since New Jersey has one of the nation’s largest airports in Newark Liberty International and a strong link to Puerto Rico, the epicenter of the disease.

The Zika virus is spread though infected mosquitoes, sexual transmission and possibly blood transfusions. There are birth defect risks if pregnant women are infected.

Sen. Bob Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker say that they cannot understand why an agreement on federal Zika funding can’t be made. United States lawmakers went on a weeklong recess Thursday without a deal in place.

"That safety isn't just from the threat of ISIL or al-Qaida,” says Sen. Menendez.  “That safety is also from the threat of diseases like Zika. Diseases know no boundaries. They know no borders."

"When the health of the United States of America, our citizens, pregnant women, and our citizens is at risk, we must respond and do whatever it takes to be prepared for a potential crisis,” says Sen. Booker.

Both senators say that they support President Baraka Obama’s plan to allocate $1.9 billion in funding to combat Zika.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has made an emergency approval to allow Quest Diagnostics to start giving Zika test kits to hospitals.

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