Hoeven: Senate Passes Bipartisan Funding Bill to Combat Zika Virus

Measure Seeks to Limit the Spread of Zika Virus, Develop Vaccine to Prevent Illness

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has made $1.6 billion available to help combat Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that has infected millions of people in Central and South America and poses a serious risk to pregnant women and newborn infants. This includes a $1.1 billion bipartisan measure passed by the Senate today, as well as $589 million that Congress has already approved for Zika response activities.

The FY2016-2017 Zika special funding bill provides funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to address the Zika virus.

“Zika is a public heath priority and must be addressed both at home and abroad,” Hoeven said. “Key purposes of this funding will be to limit the spread of the disease through mosquito control and other activities, as well as vital research and development of a vaccine that will defeat the Zika virus before illness spreads.”

Key activities to be carried out include:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Support for domestic activities, Puerto Rico & U.S. Territories Technical Assistance and international response.

National Institutes of Health: Support for vaccine research related to Zika, other vector borne diseases and related health outcomes.

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund: Support for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for research, advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for Zika virus. An additional $75 million for the Social Services Block Grant, a flexible pot of funding to support efforts to address health and social services in the U.S. territories with active Zika transmission.

Reimbursement of Public Health Funding: Provides funding for FY2016 Public Health Emergency Preparedness activities so that states like North Dakota can continue to develop a critical public health and medical response infrastructure.

In addition, the legislation provides contingency funding and authority to help Americans and prevent the spread of Zika overseas:

• Evacuate U.S. citizens from Zika-affected countries
• Support maternal and child health
• Support affected countries’ ability to implement mosquito management and control programs and reduce transmission of the Zika virus