Congressman Stewart Introduces Legislation to Combat Zika Virus
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) introduced legislation to combat the Zika virus. The Zika Response and Safety Act gives flexibility to our federal agencies, allowing them to use funds allocated to fight the Ebola virus to also research and fight the Zika virus.
The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and if pregnant women are infected, it has been linked to serious physical and neurological defects to their unborn children. This week, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global public health emergency.
“The Zika virus is a global health threat that requires our immediate attention,” Stewart said. “This bill gives agencies like the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the resources and flexibility they need to research the virus to develop treatments and vaccines. Experts fear that the virus will spread more widely to the United States, especially with the Rio Olympic Games on the horizon.”
“This is a frightening virus, especially for pregnant woman or those hoping to expand their family in the next few years,” Stewart continued. “I am using my role on the Appropriations Committee to ensure the right people have the resources they need to combat this dangerous virus.”
In 2014, Congress allocated billions of dollars to research and fight the Ebola virus. As of January 2016, approximately $2.7 billion of that funding was unused. The Zika Response and Safety Act allows the appropriate agencies to access Ebloa funds to research and respond to the Zika virus.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
To watch the video, click here.