Congress, stop Zika now!!

Democratic lawmakers have demanded that Congress be called for an emergency session from its summer break to approve Zika funding.

When four cases of mosquito-transmitted Zika in the United States, all in South Florida made the news, Senator Marco Rubio, was the only GOP senator to join Democrats in urging representatives and senators to return to the nation’s capital and deal with Zika. Representative Vern Buchanan, Republican from Longboat Key, Florida, also broke with his party and demanded for Congress to provide more Zika money.

Governor Scott went to Washington to meet with President Obama and lobby for more funding against the disease that started to spread rapidly.

August 1, the Department of Health confirmed that 10 additional people contracted the Zika virus in Wynwood and it was not travel related, as announced by Governor Scott.

Out of the 14, 2 are women and 12 are men.

The infected person could have very mild symptoms like fever, joint pain, maybe red eyes, or no symptoms at all.

An infected partner or a blood transfusion can infect a pregnant woman and cause devastating birth defects, including an underdeveloped brain. Tested partners and testing blood donors are a way to keep safe.

President Barack Obama sent to Congress in February an emergency package of 1.9 billion to fund Zika prevention and research.

The Senate passed a compromise $1.1 billion Zika bill in May by a large, bipartisan vote, and the House approved similar legislation in July.

However, Republican House members added controversial clauses to the measure that were unacceptable for the Democrats. Among them, reducing women’s health funds, adding abortion restrictions and cutting Obamacare money.

CDC on Monday advised pregnant women to avoid Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District and as said by CDC Director Tom Frieden, issued an advisory to test all expectant mothers and women planning to become pregnant who were in the area on or after June 15. 

According to the Director,

“Nothing that we’ve seen indicates widespread transmission,” he said, “but it’s certainly possible there could be sustained transmission in small areas.”

His rationale is that this kind of mosquito typically does not travel more than 500 feet in its lifetime.

This optimism is too close to complacency when the next mosquito could be born 500 feet from where the first one was and the disease can be also sexually transmitted.

Congress: Contain Zika quickly and keep Florida open for business, before the tourism industry and arts related travel suffer.