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Scott Plans D.C. Trip To Urge Zika Funding

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Office of Gov. Rick Scott
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott will travel to Washington, D.C. in early September, when Congress returns from its summer recess, to seek funding to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

"During Congress' vacation, we have identified 43 cases of locally acquired Zika in four Florida counties," Scott said in a prepared statement Thursday. "The Zika virus demands immediate federal action and I will impress upon our congressional members the urgency to protect our residents and visitors."

Scott intends to meet Sept. 6 with members of Congress, which is in a seven-week recess. President Barack Obama early this year proposed spending $1.9 billion to address the Zika issue, but Congress could not agree on funding.

The Florida Department of Health on Thursday reported that in addition to the locally transmitted cases, there are 534 travel-related cases of Zika in the state. Travel-related cases stem from people bringing the disease into the state after being infected elsewhere.

The state reported 11 new travel-related cases Thursday, with three in Miami-Dade County, two in Alachua County, two in Orange County, and one each in Duval, Monroe, Osceola and Polk counties. Florida also has a total of 70 cases involving pregnant women.

The virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects. Much of the state's focus on local transmissions have been on Miami's Wynwood area and on an area in Miami Beach. However, this week cases of locally transmitted Zika were reported in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties.