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More confirmed Zika cases in territory prompts huge grant from US Health Admin

There is an increase in the number of confirmed Zika cases in American Samoa, based on the latest data released from the Health Department, which has been awarded federal funding under the Zika Maternal and Child Health Services Program.

Data released by DOH last month shows that as of Nov. 18 there were 982 suspected Zika cases in American Samoa and 57 confirmed through laboratory testing. Of the total confirmed cases, 24 of them are pregnant women.

In its latest data, DOH says that as of Dec. 8, there are 1,015 Zika suspected cases with, now, 61 confirmed through laboratory testing. And of the total confirmed cases, there are now 27 confirmed pregnant women.

And with the holiday season in full swing, DOH and its federal partners remind residents to take all precautionary measures to protect from the Zika virus, especially when many family and group holiday celebrations are expected to be held outdoors.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Aumua Amata announced yesterday that DOH has been awarded $500,000 from the US Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) under the Zika Maternal and Child Health Services Program — which works closely with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention to track Zika cases and disseminate information regarding prevention and testing to women of childbearing age and to local Maternal and Childhood healthcare professionals.

“This additional funding for Zika health services will go a long way towards helping prevent the devastating birth defects caused by infection during pregnancy,” Aumua said in a brief news release. “I look forward to the time when this horrible disease is completely eradicated from our home.”