No Funding On Zika Eradication — Shame On You Congress

By  John Derby
Times Publisher
August 11, 2016

Last week two cases of Zika Virus were confirmed in our area. Both cases involved people who had recently traveled outside the United States, otherwise the two cases were unrelated.

Congress took its summer break recently without making a decision to finance a bill which would provide over $1 billion to fight the spread of the virus nationwide.

Members will be in their home districts seeking reelection making it highly unlikely there will be any decision on a bill before the national elections are over.

Is it time to let them know how serious this disease is and how important it is to do something now, rather than later.

As of the first of the month, there have been 114 Zika cases in the San Joaquin Valley and 1,658 cases reported in the United States.

Many people have the Zika Virus without even knowing it. It’s symptoms can be very mild, but when pregnant women are infected, the virus can have a disastrous effect on a new born child.

The first Zika Virus cases were identified in Brazil in early 2015. The virus was being carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which is present here in the San Joaquin Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley has been known as an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and local counties set up Mosquito Abatement Districts to fight the pest.

Because of these districts, the mosquitoes in our area have remained under control, but this is the first time that the local district has had to deal with the Zika Virus.

Bruce Bondi, assistant manager of the Merced Mosquito Abatement District said, “We don’t want to allow mosquitoes carrying the Zika Virus to get a foothold in our area.” He said that the Department of Public Health was assisting the local district, not financially, but with the latest information.

“Early eradication is very important,” Bondi said.

Control and eradication of the mosquito is an ongoing job, and testing to see how many mosquitoes are carrying the Zika Virus increases the importance of that job as well as the cost.

Congress should not have taken a recess without passing an emergency bill which would have funded immediate measures to fight the spread of the mosquitoes carrying the Zika Virus.

Write or call your congressman and demand the passage of an emergency bill now, even if it means disrupting the summer recess.

This is too important to wait.


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