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Absence Of Funding For Zika Efforts Could Delay Public Health Responses To Virus

New York Times: Congress Takes a Vacation Without Doing Anything About Zika
Editorial Board

“Members of Congress are leaving Washington for seven weeks without passing a bill to pay for the fight against Zika. Their failure to do so will delay the public health response to the mosquito-borne virus that causes birth defects, unnecessarily putting thousands of people at risk. … The House last month passed a bill that would allocate $1.1 billion to fight Zika by funding vaccine development, mosquito control efforts, and other programs. But Republican lawmakers attached so many objectionable provisions to the measure that Democrats have effectively blocked the bill in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to cut off debate and bring legislation to a vote. … The absence of funding … is expected to cause major problems. Many local governments need federal assistance to control mosquitoes in the coming weeks. And researchers at the National Institutes of Health may be forced to stop tests on a potential vaccine as well as efforts to develop tools that can quickly diagnose Zika infections … It’s always troubling to see good legislation hijacked to score political points. In this case the timing could not be worse” (7/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.