East Hawaii News

Gabbard Urges the Passing of $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

February 10, 2016, 9:58 AM HST
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard. U.S. House of Representatives photo.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard. U.S. House of Representatives photo.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House floor Wednesday in support of President Barack Obama’s emergency request for $1.8 billion to prepare and respond to the Zika virus.

On Jan. 29, Representative Gabbard called on Governor David Ige for federal funding to fight dengue fever in Hawai’i. The dengue virus is carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, who can also carry the Zika virus.

Representative Gabbard urged the Governor to deploy state resources in January, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing of mosquito breeding areas, and proving completely free and accessible testing for those with suspected symptoms.

“The President’s leadership and emergency request to combat the Zika virus is warranted and necessary to respond aggressively to this urgent issue early on,” said Representative Gabbard. I strongly urge my colleagues to support the President’s emergency request of $1.8 billion to fight the spread of the Zika virus.

“The symptoms and effects of the Zika virus, which have prompted an international public health emergency from the World Health Organization (WHO), are not dissimilar to another mosquito borne disease—dengue fever—which has affected 252 people on Hawaiʻi Island alone in the past 16 weeks.

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“The President’s request for emergency funding is necessary now, in communities like mine on Hawaiʻi Island and in different parts of the country, to combat these disease transmitting mosquito viruses like Zika and dengue fever. It’s imperative that Congress, federal agencies, local governments, and private sector partners, partner together to take action now to deal with the outbreaks we already have and prevent something far worse from occurring.”

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