Hurricane Matthew has cleared out, but it has left some big questions in its wake — namely, how will this impact the spread of the Zika virus?

The heavy rainfall in Florida and the Carolinas left large amounts of standing water throughout the states — perfect conditions for mosquito breeding. The Zika virus has continued to spread throughout Florida, and the hurricane may create the conditions that cause the virus to travel up the coast.

Infections even two or three weeks before birth can cause undetected brain lesions in babies, new research shows.

Researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention saw a similar increase in the spread of West Nile virus after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many people will alter their schedules to perform repairs and clean up outside, so many of them will be vulnerable to infection.

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has asked residents to eliminate standing water immediately after the storm. Upturned tables and chairs, broken rain gutters, and other debris can retain even small amounts of water where millions of new mosquitoes can breed.

The warnings come as two new studies from Brazil show Zika is even more dangerous than previously understood. Scientists assumed Zika infection would have to occur early in a pregnancy to influence the neurological development of an infant.

However, infections even two or three weeks before birth can cause undetected brain lesions in babies, according to research from the São José do Rio Preto Medical School in São Paulo State, Brazil. The 55 children involved in one study did not manifest microcephaly, but diagnostic imaging showed they had lesions along their central nervous system. Doctors will continue to monitor these children as they develop to ascertain long-term effects.

Related: Zika More ‘Virulent and Dangerous’ Than Thought

Companies throughout the U.S. are scrambling to create more accurate screening tests for the virus and to discover a vaccine. Congress barely passed a funding bill three days before the deadline that allocates $1.1 billion in the fight against Zika, $397 million of which is dedicated to developing screenings and a vaccine.

[lz_bulleted_list title=”Zika in the U.S.” source=”http://www. “]50 States and D.C., 3,818|U.S. Territories, 24,201|Latest numbers as of Oct. 5, 2016[/lz_bulleted_list]

Right now hospitals have to send samples to their state health departments for testing because they have the equipment for accurate screenings. Only recently did the Food and Drug Administration agree to distribute specific diagnostic tools to qualified laboratories.

Who do you think would win the Presidency?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

What’s more, Zika tests aren’t always accurate, so most women have to go through several rounds of testing to be sure of the result. And if patients don’t get to the doctor within five days of being infected, the virus isn’t likely to show up in the urine test — even if the patient is a carrier.

A blood test that checks for Zika antibodies can work up to 12 weeks after infection. But it also has been known to issue false positives. The CDC has issued only 100,000 of these blood test kits.

Related: Big, Bad Zika Gets Its Own Health Centers

Several companies are snatching up government money in the race for a cure and better screening tests. The Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded $4.1 million in funding to Massachusetts-based Hologic, Inc., in order to develop a more reliable blood test for the virus. Roche Molecular Systems in New Jersey is also racing to develop a test for donor blood.

Other companies are jumping on the vaccine bandwagon. Inovio Pharmaceuticals in Pennsylvania is researching a DNA-based vaccine (as opposed to a virus-based vaccine) and began a phase I clinical trial last June. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company in Osaka, Japan, recently received $312 million in U.S. funding to develop a vaccine and will start clinical trials late next year. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also began a clinical trial in August.

[lz_ndn video=31487613]

Now that congressional funding finally came through, it’s possible some companies will see a Zika breakthrough in the coming months. And with viral infections set to rise in Florida and along the coast, many are praying they work fast.