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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Scott, Obama administration call for more money to fight Zika



Gov. Rick Scott and the Obama administration on Monday called for additional money to combat the spread of Zika in South Florida.

It's a familiar cry for both parties, made more urgent by the 14 Zika infections acquired from mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County confirmed in recent days.

"The White House and Congress have to come together and work together no different than I have to work with my legislature and make sure they get things done," Scott said Monday on Fox News.

When it comes to more money to fight Zika, he said, "The blame is on the federal government."

But Obama, too, has called on Congress to pass budget authority for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight the disease. Spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters that because Congress didn't fund Zika before leaving for the August recess, the administration is less able to pay for research and fight the virus' spread.

The CDC is sending a team to Florida. Director Tom Frieden said that by Tuesday, eight people will be on the ground in Miami-Dade County. They will work alongside Florida Department of Health officials there.

Frieden said the CDC is battling several problems in Miami: First, there is concern that mosquito control efforts in South Florida haven't been completely successful.

"In Miami-Dade County, aggressive mosquito control efforts don't seem to be working as well as we'd like," Frieden said.

Additionally, he said, there is apathy among at-risk people who don't believe Zika is a threat.

"It's something that we've seen surpisingly often in the Zika resonse," Frieden said. "I'm sorry that people feel that ,way but it is a problem."

Because people rarely see symptoms associated with Zika, they often do not know that they have it. However, the virus can cause birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected. That's why the CDC recommends that pregnant women steer clear of the Wynwood district of Miami, and that women considering pregnancy see a doctor to be tested.


[Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2016 2:59pm]


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