Counties Forced to Fight Zika Without Federal Funding

Disagreement between Congress and the White House on an emergency funding package to fight Zika has largely left state and local officials to fend off the disease by themselves.

As reported in The Washington Post:

One county is ready to leap into action with a fleet of helicopters and planes to spray for disease-transmitting mosquitoes. Others facing a similar risk of the disease can’t afford much more than educational coloring books. Some localities have signed up private contractors to wage war on disease-carrying mosquitoes. For others, the only line of defense is an overworked parks employee responsible for all kinds of maintenance — “Chuck in the truck,” as one expert put it.

As the mosquito season kicks into full swing, the story playing out across the country is one of haves and have-nots. With no aid in sight from the federal government, local officials are preparing as best they can for the possibility that Zika could soon spread within the United States. But the task has fallen to a patchwork of state and local programs that have a huge disparity in financial resources and manpower.

The CDC plans to send rapid-response teams at the states’ request to any community on the mainland or Hawaii where the virus begins to spread locally. The expert teams will help state and local authorities monitor cases, perform lab tests and plan for mosquito control.

But for the most part, mosquito control remains the responsibility of local authorities.

CDC Director Tom Frieden said he was encouraged by the dedication of communities around the country aiming to educate the public and reduce the risk of infection.

“But not having the [federal] funding hinders states, cities and counties and makes it harder to protect pregnant women,” he said. “CDC is scraping together funds to meet immediate needs — but this is no way to fight an epidemic.”

For more information read the full article in The Washington Post.

County efforts to prepare for the Zika threat will be discussed at the MACo Summer Conference Session “Outbreak! Responding to the Zika Threat“. The session will be held Thursday, August 18, 2016 from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: