Bipartisan Fears Lurk Beneath Surface Of Zika Funding Debate
Politics are adding a layer of complexity to efforts to battle the outbreak. Among other issues, Republicans are worried about the perception of supporting abortion or contraception, while Democrats are concerned about the environmental impact of pesticides. However, public officials say, mosquitoes don't pay attention to party lines.
The New York Times:
Political Battles Color Congressional Feud Over Zika Funding
The feud on Capitol Hill over responding to the rapidly spreading Zika virus would seem to be largely a fight over how much money is needed to fight the mosquito-borne scourge. But lurking just beneath the surface are issues that have long stirred partisan mistrust, including Republicans’ fears about the use of taxpayer money for abortion and possible increased use of contraception, and Democratic worries about protecting the environment from potentially dangerous pesticides. Public health officials warn that the virus will not stop to check party affiliation — the mosquitoes that carry it bite Republicans and Democrats alike. (Herszenhorn, 5/24)
House Votes To Loosen EPA Pesticide Rules To Fight Zika
The House voted along party lines Tuesday to approve a bill that would loosen pesticide regulations in the name of fighting the Zika virus. Democrats almost unanimously opposed the bill, which was recently retooled by House GOP leaders as an effort to prevent the spread of Zika. The final tally was 258-156, with all but 23 Democrats opposed to the bill. (Ferris, 5/24)
What’s Behind Biting Political Fight In Congress Over Zika Funding?
In February, the White House issued a $1.9 billion plan for combating Zika virus in the U.S., including provisions for mosquito control, education and research into a vaccine. While GOP lawmakers opposed that plan, the Senate passed a bipartisan $1.1 billion compromise bill last week. (5/24)
Meanwhile, the FTC is issuing warnings for consumers over products marketed to protect against Zika, and officials in Texas take mosquito trapping very seriously —
The Washington Post:
FTC: Beware Of Companies Peddling Products To Protect Against Zika Mosquitos
That mint oil Mosquito Shield wristband you picked up last week to protect against Zika as mosquito season rolls into the United States? It's not going to cut it. The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a strong warning to consumers that some companies may be trying to unscrupulously capitalize on fears about the virus. The FTC announcement focused specifically on on Viatek Consumer Products Group's Mosquito Shield Band, which is sold in stores and on the Home Shopping Network. (Cha, 5/24)
Kaiser Health News:
Mosquito Hunters Set Traps Across Houston, Search For Signs Of Zika
Mosquito control is serious business in Harris County, Texas. The county, which includes Houston, stretches across 1,777 square miles and is the third most populous county in the U.S. The area's warm, muggy climate and snaking system of bayous provide an ideal habitat for mosquitoes — and the diseases they carry. The county began battling mosquitoes in earnest in 1965, after an outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis. Hundreds of people contracted the virus and 32 died. (Feibel, 5/24)