CDC says zika virus 'scarier' than thought as US prepares for outbreak

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed the state of zika virus preparations in the nation, saying the virus is "scarier" than the agency first thought. The outbreak first started in Brazil about a year ago, and has since worked its way north, affecting Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Hawaii, among other places. The CDC has found that zika-carrying mosquitos could make their way into more U.S. states than previously assessed.

Zika virus was first tied to the birth defect microcephaly, and has since been found to cause other birth defects, as well. According to the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat, "Most of what we've learned is not reassuring. Everything we know about this virus seems to be scarier than we initially thought."

So far, all 346 cases of zika virus in the continental United States have been traced back to travel in affected countries. The U.S. have scrambled to ensure the outbreak does not gravitate into the states, but the process has been slow. Thus far, the Obama Administration has requested $1.9 billion in funding from Congress, and in the meantime has been using $589 million in funding left over from the Ebola outbreak. It won't be until this upcoming September that zika virus vaccination trials will start.

It could be a long while until a vaccine is deployed for the public, though — likely not until early 2018 at the best. In the meantime, thousands of infants have been affected by the virus, which is highly destructive to the brains of developing fetuses. If upcoming vaccination tests prove promising, larger trials will start some time next year.