At mosquito season starts, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan again calls for Zika funding compromise


Summer is here and, for Rep. Vern Buchanan, that means one thing: mosquitos.

Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, once again called for compromise in funding to fight the Zika virus, now that mosquito season has officially started in Florida Monday, according to a press release.

“We need to listen to the health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and give them the resources they need to control the devastating health impact of this disease,” Buchanan said.

A joint House-Senate committee has been working on legislation to resolve funding discrepancies. If it adjourns Friday without addressing the issue, Buchanan said Congress will have ignored one of its primary responsibilities: public safety.

The Zika virus can cause microcephaly, a birth defect that leaves infants with abnormally small heads and brain damage. The CDC reported at least three babies with birth defects potentially related to Zika were born on U.S. soil, according to U.S. News & World Report.

As of Friday, 195 cases of Zika were reported in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Buchanan supports President Obama’s call for $1.9 billion in funding to fight the virus. Some funds not used for the Ebola epidemic would be transferred to fight Zika.

“People’s lives are at stake,” Buchanan said, “the time for inaction is over.”

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse