Quigley and Bipartisan Colleagues Push for Broader Response to Zika Virus
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a bipartisan letter along with 57 of his colleagues to President Obama urging a U.S. led, international response to combat the spread of the Zika virus. The letter shows bipartisan support for a broader response to the Zika virus, following up on the president’s requested $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus.
“There is still a lot that is unclear and unknown about the Zika virus and there are additional steps the president can and should take in order to support research, treatment and prevention,” said Rep. Quigley. “Alarmism is rarely a productive response to the challenges facing the world today, but responsible efforts by federal, state, and local governments and our communities can help address the current situation in South and Central America and minimize the serious risk the Zika virus poses to the American people. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan letter to President Obama recommending necessary additional steps the U.S. should take now to prevent a serious crisis at home and help lead a global response abroad.”
The letter outlines four steps that the administration should take to adequately address this serious crisis at home and to help lead a global response abroad. First, the U.S. must continue to increase public education efforts on the symptoms, risks, and transmission of the Zika virus. Second, the U.S. must support more serious tracking of the Zika virus. Third, the U.S. must provide funding for Zika research and accelerate and incentivize efforts to develop a vaccine. And finally, the lack of treatment and preventative options require a more robust effort to contain the Aedes mosquito species, which spreads the disease. To read the full letter, click here.
Zika is an arbovirus, primarily transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and potentially transmitted through mother-to-fetus transmission, semen, or blood. For humans, the Zika virus has shown mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis. However, the possible harm to pregnant women and fetuses is extremely high. Many women infected with Zika have been found to give birth to infants with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition associated with abnormal smallness of the head and incomplete brain development. Among infected women in Brazil, for example, there have been 3,893 cases of microcephaly since October 2015.