"The leaders agreed on the importance of collaborative efforts to deepen our knowledge, advance research, and accelerate work to develop better vaccines and other technologies to control the virus," the White House said after Obama's phone call.

Obama and Rousseff agreed to continue to prioritise building national, regional, and global capacity to combat infectious disease threats more broadly.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Member Tom Carper and Chairman Ron Johnson have written to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden asking for more information about federal efforts to address the potential threat posed by this virus.

Since last May, the Zika virus, originally believed to cause minor physical symptoms such as fever, has spread at an alarming rate throughout a number of Central and South American countries, as well as Puerto Rico.

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