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Mayor Turner Insists Houston Needs More State And Federal Funding To Fight The Zika Virus

Experts note it is time to maximize prevention efforts because the risk period is peaking.


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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city needs more than the $1.5 million the CDC has awarded it in the fight against Zika.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city needs more than the $1.5 million the CDC has awarded it in the fight against Zika.

With more than 90 cases reported, the Zika virus is spreading in Texas and, in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner insists he needs more funding from the state and the federal governments to continue prevention operations.

Currently, most of the cases in Texas are related to travel to Latin American countries, but the risk of local mosquitos spreading the disease, as it has happened in Florida, is rising, according to medical experts.

Back in February, Mayor Turner launched a program to clean up potential breeding grounds for mosquitos.

The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, has awarded Houston $1.5 million for epidemiology surveillance, lab testing and prevention initiatives.

However, Turner says that is not enough.

"We need more than just the one point five million dollars. So, the debris removal, the spraying, all of the other efforts that we have taken, that’s a, that’s a multi-million dollar program," Turner commented at a press conference held after this week's meeting of the Houston City Council.

"We don’t want a situation like in Florida, where, you know, people are getting it right there in the state of Florida," Turner added "So, we are trying to stay ahead of it as much as possible and that’s why I’ve re-urged my request for support coming from the state of Texas."

Meanwhile, medical experts like Doctor Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, note that this is the moment to maximize prevention efforts because the timing is not on our side.

"We know that the peak period of risk begins around July and peaks around August and then into September," Hotez notes.

Hotez participated in a town hall meeting about the Zika virus held this week in southeast Houston which was hosted by Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado.

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