President Obama is asking Congress to provide $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness that could be causing the proliferation of a rare birth defect in some Latin American countries.
The president will submit a formal request to Congress on Monday requesting money to up increase mosquito control programs, help build response and support capacities in states and territories where transmission is possible, expand research into the link between the virus and birth defects, and help countries currently facing the virus keep it from spreading.
“There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas,” a White House Fact Sheet reads. “We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus.”
Read more: Time