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- United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson told Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga that it’s time to take action in battling the “very serious” Zika virus threat.
His words come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus does cause babies to be born with microcephaly, a rare condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and other severe brain defects.
“People with microcephaly are severely limited in terms of mental capacity, will not have the ability to take care of themselves,” Carson said. “Therefore you’re talking enormous expenses — lifetime expenses for these individuals — and, you know, not to mention the psychological devastation for the family and the cost in terms of time and resources for each family involved.”
President Obama has asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help combat the Zika virus from spreading. This week, lawmakers passed legislation that would provide financial incentives for companies to develop treatments and vaccines for Zika, but the bill did not provide funding.
“I think it’s time to educate Congress and the general populous about the dangers of microcephaly,” said Carson. “What the cost implications are — they are enormous, believe me. … If we deal with it in the early stages, we have a much greater chance of coming up with solutions and eradicating it than if we wait until it becomes an epidemic.”
The former GOP presidential candidate, who has endorsed frontrunner Donald Trump, weighed in that people planning on becoming pregnant need to be “extraordinarily careful” if they are in a place where mosquitoes that carry the virus have been identified. Currently, health officials are split on whether they should tell American women to delay pregnancy in affected areas.