US Health officials said that $1.9 billion is urgently needed to combat Zika virus in the United States following its expansion from the Zika-affected countries.

Officials from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health on Monday weighed down on the Republican-led Congress during a White House briefing to approve $1.9 billion funds requested by Obama in February.

“Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, a deputy director at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“And so while we absolutely hope we don’t see widespread local transmission in the continental US, we need the states to be ready for that.”

As the time inches towards the summer season, the eradication and scientific efforts could become more critical amid the spread of the virus. As of now, United States has 346 confirmed cases of Zika and most of them has traveled to Zika-affected countries . Out of them, 32 are pregnancy-related cases with seven sexually transferred, reports USA Today.

The virus is locally active in the following territories: Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. With over 354 cases, the territories have three travel-related cases and 37 pregnancy related.

Now the presence of Aedes aegypti species in 30 states scares the health authorities to the core, where researchers are not sure how many babies will get affected by birth defects and what vaccine may be more effective.

In a report by The Guardian, the White House said it would use $589 M from the funds bailed out by Congress to recover from Ebola outbreak.

According to the NBC News, scientists reported two new studies before the White House briefing on Monday. One of them described that “Zika affects the developing nerve cells” while other study disclosed two cases which had “nerve damage” akin to the one appears in sclerosis.