June 09, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the Zika virus continuing to spread further into the United States, U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help give states and localities the tools they need to fight back. The Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act would reauthorize critical public health tools that support states and localities in their mosquito surveillance and control efforts, especially those linked to mosquitos that carry the Zika virus, and improve the nation’s preparedness for Zika and other mosquito-borne threats.
“The Zika virus is an epidemic in waiting that threatens the health and welfare of Americans. We have already seen its terrible impact on women and children in other countries, and as public health experts have repeatedly told us, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a serious problem here in the United States,” Senator King said. “As we move into summer, we need to take immediate action to fight back against the spread of the virus – and states and localities are where the battle can most effectively be fought. After all, Maine has been battling insect-borne diseases like Lyme for decades. So by giving states the tools they need, we can help control the spread of mosquitos and their viruses, and better protect people across the country.”
Zika is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that is primarily transmitted to humans by the female yellow fever (A. aegypti) and Asian tiger (A. albopictus) mosquitos. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recently announced that more than 1,700 cases of the virus have been reported in the U.S. and its territories, has linked the Zika virus to serious health condition, including birth defects in infants such as microcephaly as well as neurological disorders.
Despite the very real and imminent threat posed by Zika, the United States remains woefully unprepared to prevent and address the spread of the virus. To help change that, the SMASH Act takes the following three immediate steps to combat the threat of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases:
The legislation is endorsed by the National Pest Management Association, the American Mosquito Control Association, and the Entomological Society of America.
To read the complete text of the legislation, click HERE.