Buchanan Backs Funding to Attack Zika Virus
“We Need to Get Ahead of This Emerging Threat”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, said today he supports emergency federal funding to address the growing health threat of the Zika virus, which presents a significant risk to pregnant women and their babies.
The mosquito-borne virus is linked to the development of abnormally small heads in newborns — a birth defect called microcephaly.
A public health emergency has been declared in Florida after 14 reported cases of Zika virus were found in a total of seven counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Santa Rosa, Osceola and St. Johns County.
Buchanan said Congress should review the matter with an eye toward quick action to expand mosquito control programs and speed development of a vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 50 laboratory-confirmed cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015- February 5, 2016. The Pan American Health Organization reports 26 countries and territories in the Americas with local Zika transmission.
People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis, according to the World Health Organization. Zika has been linked to thousands of infants born in Brazil with microcephaly.
Buchanan said he was pleased to see the Obama administration also is focused on addressing the problem, which although currently prevalent in South America represents a threat to the United States, “We need to get ahead of this emerging threat,” Buchanan said.