Cornyn, Cruz Seek Info on Zika Prep Efforts, Available Funding for Texas from Administration


In: All News   Posted 05/18/2017
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WASHINGTON – On the brink of peak mosquito season in Texas, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asking about how her agency is coordinating with Texas public health officials to prepare for the Zika virus threat this summer and how the CDC plans to spend its remaining Zika prevention funds.

“We write to inquire as to the steps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking to implement and develop the strongest possible Zika response plan and encourage you to work closely with Texas public health officials throughout this process,” the Senators wrote. 

“As you know, mosquito season in the United States is right around the corner and protecting against a Zika outbreak is a critical public health priority.  In Texas, the Zika threat is of particular concern, as the state’s gulf coast location, warm climate, and concerns for flooding, have the potential to attract high volumes of disease carrying mosquitos.”

Full text of the letter is attached and below.

May 18, 2017
Anne Schuchat, M.D.
Acting Director
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329

Dear Acting Director Schuchat:

We write to inquire as to the steps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking to implement and develop the strongest possible Zika response plan and encourage you to work closely with Texas public health officials throughout this process.  

As you know, mosquito season in the United States is right around the corner and protecting against a Zika outbreak is a critical public health priority.  In Texas, the Zika threat is of particular concern, as the state’s gulf coast location, warm climate, and concerns for flooding, have the potential to attract high volumes of disease carrying mosquitos.  As of May 2, 2017, there have been 333 cases of the Zika virus confirmed in Texas.   Eleven of those cases were confirmed this year.

To bolster Zika prevention and response initiatives, Congress appropriated $1.1 billion in supplemental funding in September 2016.  Included in these funds were $394 million specifically allocated for the CDC to combat Zika.  It is our understanding that $144 million of these funds currently remains unspent and available to the CDC.  Given the significant impact this money could have in preventing a Zika outbreak, we ask that you provide answers to the following questions:

1.)    How does the CDC plan to utilize these remaining funds to most efficiently prevent a Zika outbreak here in the United States? 

2.)    What is the timeframe for distributing remaining available funds?

3.)    How much of this funding do you plan to spend on Zika prevention and response efforts in the State of Texas?

4.)    How is the CDC coordinating with state and local partners in Texas to ensure Texas communities are best equipped to prevent, respond to, and eliminate the threat of the Zika virus?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  We look forward to your response and hope to work closely with you as we continue the fight against the Zika virus.