- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Sen Charles Schumer wants the White House to appoint a “zika czar” to coordinate the U.S. response to the mosquito-borne virus that is being blamed for serious birth defects.

Schumer said Friday that the Zika czar would coordinate between federal agencies and foreign governments to prevent the spread of the virus. The New York Democrat says the position should be filled before the start of mosquito season in the U.S.

The Zika virus is the suspected cause of babies in Brazil and other Latin American countries being born with abnormally small heads.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant not to travel to Zika-affected areas.

The Obama administration has asked Congress for $1.8 billion to fight Zika.

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