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Scott allocates state money for Zika fight

Thursday, June 23, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: DCMS
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The News Service of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Thursday that pumps $26.2 million into the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as it appears Congress will wait until after its Fourth of July holiday recess before completing any deal addressing the disease. Scott directed state Surgeon General Celeste Philip to oversee the spread of the money to county health departments, local mosquito districts and laboratories for training, mosquito surveillance, and the purchase of Zika Prevention Kits from federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are in the middle of hot, rainy weather which is when mosquitoes are most prevalent," Scott said in a press release. "It is clear that allocating this funding is necessary if we are going to stay ahead of the spread of this virus." The virus --- which commonly results in a fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes --- can, if caught during pregnancy, cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other fetal brain defects, according to the CDC. Scott added in the release that more than 40 entities have asked for more than $19 million to prepare for the virus. Scott asked President Barack Obama on June 1 to unilaterally release federal funds to fight Zika. Obama had requested Congress provide $1.9 billion in funding to fight Zika. The House, which had initially offered $622 million, approved a measure Thursday matching the Senate's funding proposal of $1.1 billion for the Zika fight. However, some of the House provisions tied to the deal, but unrelated to fighting Zika, did not appear to be acceptable to Democrats and the White House.