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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott asks HHS chief for federal Zika aid

From our friends at the News Service of Florida:

As the number of Zika cases climbs in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell for federal aid and also called for members of Congress to hold a hearing in Miami.

Scott, who traveled to Washington on Wednesday, is seeking federal money for such things as Zika "preparedness" kits and additional staffing at mosquito control districts, his office said in a statement after the meeting with Burwell.

Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that emerged last year in South America, can cause severe birth defects if pregnant women contract the disease. The statement from Scott's office said 112 travel-related cases have been documented in Florida. In such cases, people contract Zika elsewhere and then carry it into Florida.

Scott also has asked members of Congress to hold a hearing in Miami on Zika preparedness.

"Miami is leading the state in travel-related cases of the Zika virus and is an international hub for travel, especially for those traveling to Brazil this summer for the Olympics where the virus is spreading rapidly," Scott said. "Mosquito populations are also at their peak during the summer season, which means we need a solution fast. I want Congress to hear directly from our county health officers, our mosquito control districts and doctors about what is needed in our state in order to be prepared."

[Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2016 11:35am]


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