President Barack Obama on Monday asked for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to tackle the fast-spreading Zika virus at home and abroad.

The mosquito-borne illness has surged through Latin America, prompting fears that clement spring weather could bring an explosion in cases.

The White House said money is needed to fund vaccine research, insect control programs and other “essential strategies” to combat the virus and help “ongoing preparedness efforts.”

Obama’s formal request to Congress is expected soon.

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