In preparation for the warmer summer months ahead, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) filed legislation today to bolster local mosquito-control efforts to curb the spread of the Zika virus.
The legislation Nelson filed today along with Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) would authorize an additional $130 million per year in grant funding to local mosquito-control efforts to eliminate the mosquitoes responsible for spreading the virus. It would also authorize additional funding for public health laboratories so they can better test for the virus, and would require the Government Accountability Office to find ways to improve existing mosquito-control programs.
“One of the best ways to curb the spread of this virus is to eliminate the insects known to carry it,” Nelson said. “As summer approaches, Florida’s mosquito population is going to rise, and we need to make sure our local mosquito-control boards have the resources they need to protect their communities.”
With more than 1,300 cases of the virus reported last year, no state has been harder hit by Zika than Florida. In fact, the Florida Department of Health reported four new cases of the virus last month, bringing the state’s total for this year to 31.
Nelson, King and Burr introduced similar legislation last year, which was endorsed by the National Pest Management Association, the American Mosquito Control Association, the Entomological Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The legislation filed today now heads to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee for consideration.
The text of the bill is available here.