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senate Bill S. 2518

Should Unspent Funds from the Response to Ebola be Used to Deal With the Zika Virus?

Argument in favor

Funds that were appropriated to deal with the Ebola virus but are sitting unused are a logical resource that should be used immediately in combating the spread of the Zika virus. It’s the fastest way to get the funding where it’s needed.

BTSundra's Opinion
···
03/02/2016
If the funds are already there, we should slot them to fight new diseases.
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Loraki's Opinion
···
05/18/2016
Experts Admit #Zika Threat Fraud • Mosquito experts are questioning the extent of emergency that actually exists. Chris Barker, Ph.D. a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD: "I think the risk for Zika actually setting up transmission cycles that become established in the continental U.S. is near zero.” • Environmental red flags have been raised over Biotech company Oxitec's GE mosquitos. The potential exists for these foreign genes, which hop from one place to another, to infect human blood by finding entry through skin lesions or inhaled dust. Such transmission could potentially wreak havoc with the human genome by creating "insertion mutations" and other unpredictable types of DNA damage. It’s important to remember, too, that Oxitec wants emergency approval based on the supposed threat of a disease that has yet to have even one locally transmitted case. • A Clean Water Act permit is generally required to spray pesticides in areas where they might end up in water. The permit is intended to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating water, but now the Zika virus has been used as an excuse to do away with this common-sense precaution. Children exposed to aerial pesticide spraying are about 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism or have a documented developmental delay than those living in areas that use other methods of pesticide application (such as manual spreading of granules). • It's possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved in suspected cases of microcephaly, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides. Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly. • Some experts recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants: Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET) Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market. Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET) is. By Dr. Mercola We’re in the midst of prime mosquito season for much of the U.S. While the exact beginning and end of mosquito season are debatable, The Washington Post recently used Google search data to pinpoint the shape of mosquito season in the U.S. Presumably, Google searchers for mosquitoes increase as mosquitoes ramp up their activity in any given area. Using this premise, The Washington Post found that mosquito searchers shoot up in May and increase steadily through July, then drop off throughout the coming fall and winter months. In the U.S., mosquito season is viewed as more of an itchy nuisance than a health threat, but that has changed somewhat this year, at least perceptually. Fears of Zika virus, which some believe may be associated with suspected cases of the birth defect microcephaly, started in Brazil and have quickly spread throughout the U.S. But are such fears warranted? Experts Admit Zika Threat Risk ‘Near Zero’ The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $622 million to fight Zika virus. Yet, by White House estimates, this is "woefully inadequate." They've recommended directing $1.9 billion to fight this latest declared public health emergency But mosquito experts are questioning the extent of emergency that actually exists. Chris Barker, Ph.D. a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD: "I think the risk for Zika actually setting up transmission cycles that become established in the continental U.S. is near zero.” Barker expects Zika to go the way of other tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, in the U.S. with perhaps small clusters of outbreaks in southern states and little activity elsewhere. Even in the Florida Keys (Florida, along with Louisiana and Texas, is said to be one of the states most at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses), the Monroe County Tourist Development Council reported: “Dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses are currently not a health threat in the Florida Keys including Key West … There has never been a report of a locally acquired case of chikungunya or Zika anywhere in the Florida Keys, according to officials at the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.” No Locally Transmitted Cases of Zika Virus Reported in U.S. As of May 25, 2016, Zika has not been spread by mosquitoes anywhere in the continental U.S. Calls to control the Aedes mosquitoes, which may carry Zika, have increased nonetheless, including in New York state, where experts say the risk of local transmission is low. Laura Harrington, Ph.D., chair of Entomology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York told WebMD: "Here in New York state, there's been a lot of pressure placed on mosquito-control districts to do as much as they can. And, they're really strapped for resources, and there's not a huge risk of transmission … ” Maps released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (#CDC) show it’s possible for Aedes mosquitoes to travel as far north as New York, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri and California. According to Harrington, the maps are inaccurate and causing unnecessary hysteria. Harrington continued: "They're showing this mosquito in places where there's no way you're going to find them … It's really unfortunate, because it's causing a lot of hysteria in places where people should be focusing on other health issues, like Lyme disease." GE Mosquitoes to Fight Zika Virus? Biotech company Oxitec has created genetically engineered (#GE) mosquitoes that carry a “genetic kill switch.” When they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherit the lethal gene and cannot survive. To achieve this feat, #Oxitec has inserted protein fragments from the herpes virus, E. coli bacteria, coral and cabbage into the insects. The GE mosquitoes have proven lethal to native mosquito populations. In the Cayman Islands, for instance, 96 percent of native mosquitoes were suppressed after more than 3 million GE mosquitoes were released in the area, with similar results reported in Brazil. Oxitec is seeking to release the GE mosquitoes in the U.S. to fight Zika, but as pointed out by Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to USA Today, the GE mosquitoes have not been shown to reduce rates of diseases such as Zika. The GE mosquitoes may also prove to be too expensive for areas that are plagued with mosquito-borne diseases. Environmental red flags have also been raised. The potential exists for these foreign genes, which hop from one place to another, to infect human blood by finding entry through skin lesions or inhaled dust. Such transmission could potentially wreak havoc with the human genome by creating "insertion mutations" and other unpredictable types of DNA damage. And according to Todd Shelly, an entomologist for the Agriculture Department in Hawaii, 3.5 percent of the GE insects in a laboratory test survived to adulthood despite presumably carrying the lethal gene. It’s important to remember, too, that Oxitec wants emergency approval based on the supposed threat of a disease that has yet to have even one locally transmitted case. Biotech Company Calls for ‘Emergency Approval’ of Controversial GE Mosquitoes The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (#FDA) has agreed with an environmental assessment submitted by Oxitec and stated that GE mosquitoes will not have a significant impact on the environment. Technically, this is referred to as a “finding of no significant impact” (#FONSI). The FDA’s report is only preliminary, but Oxitec wants the FDA to throw caution to the wind and give the GE mosquitoes emergency approval in order to fight the Zika virus. If approved, Oxitec, in partnership with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (#FKMCD), plans to release the GE mosquitoes, which go by the name of OX513A, in Key Haven, Florida, an island of the Florida Keys located about 1 mile east of Key West. More than 270,000 people have submitted comments criticizing the FDA’s environmental assessment, and numerous environmental groups are calling for the agency to conduct a more thorough review of the GE mosquitoes’ risks. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said: “The FDA really missed the mark on this one … The agency seems so eager to speed the process along that they have failed to do a real review of the potential risks, and are ignoring widespread concern in the community where the release will happen.” No Permits Required to Spray Near Water A Clean Water Act permit is generally required to spray pesticides in areas where they might end up in water. The permit is intended to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating water, but now the Zika virus has been used as an excuse to do away with this common-sense precaution. The language was inserted into the Zika Vector Control Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives. It would exempt pesticide applicators from needing a Clean Water Act permit, even when spraying near water. Critics argued the bill would do little to help fight Zika virus, since mosquito-control agencies already have authority to apply pesticides in emergency situations to prevent the spread of infectious disease without applying for permits. Opponents say the bill has nothing to do with combatting Zika and, instead has been on the table for years, with the majority pushing for its passage “under whatever name” was convenient at the time. Aerial Mosquito Spraying Linked to Increased Risk of #Autism Greed is pushing for a number of potentially dangerous “solutions” to combat mosquitoes and related diseases. By removing requirements for permits when spraying pesticides near water, it’s likely the use of these chemicals will skyrocket, including via aerial spraying. Unfortunately, many may suffer as a result. In research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting, aerial #pesticide exposure was linked to an increased risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorder among children.The study compared children living in zip codes where aerial pesticide spraying was used each summer to combat mosquitoes that carry the eastern equine encephalitis virus, with children living in non-aerial-spraying zip codes. If authorities use the supposed threat of Zika to increase aerial spraying, it could increase children’s risk of brain disorders, which is the opposite of what anti-Zika campaigns are supposed to achieve. Are There Other Potential Explanations for an Increase in Microcephaly? It's possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved in suspected cases of microcephaly, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides. Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Environmental pollution and toxic pesticide exposure have been positively linked to a wide array of adverse health effects, including birth defects. For instance: Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly The CDC lists malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals as known risk factors The CDC also notes certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and others are risk factors Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes Many experts agree that the threat of an epidemic outbreak of Zika virus on continental U.S. soil is virtually nonexistent. So you needn’t go dousing your backyard in chemicals in an attempt to stay safe from the Zika virus (whose connection to birth defects is still being explored). If however, mosquitoes are bothersome for you, there are some steps you can take to encourage them to live elsewhere. Draining standing water, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths, children’s toys and so on, is important. This is where mosquitoes breed, so if you eliminate standing water you’ll eliminate many mosquitoes. Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides. A simple house fan could also help keep mosquitoes at bay if you’re having a get-together in your backyard or, for a longer-term solution, try installing a bat house (bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes). It’s best to avoid using bug zappers in your yard, as these may actually attract more mosquitoes while killing beneficial insects. Insect foggers designed to clear insects out of your backyard should also be avoided, as they require the use of strong, potentially harmful, pesticides and don’t offer lasting protection. Even those clip-on repellents and fans that are widely sold are best avoided, as they contain even more toxic ingredients than repellents that can be applied to your skin, and they pose an inhalation hazard. Some experts also recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants: Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET) Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET) is http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/07/zika-virus-threat.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20160607Z1&et_cid=DM109756&et_rid=1519187568
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Alis's Opinion
···
02/26/2016
This is a VERY conditional YEA. Given the Member who introduced the bill, I assume in an election year when no one is working on anything but getting re-elected, this is the only way to get funding for Zika. Which clearly needs to be addressed NOW! HOWEVER, doing it in this way is shortsighted! Are you really delusional enough to think Ebola is no longer an issue? If you know anything about epidemics, viruses can come & go in population groups for centuries. Since we choose not to acknowledge that humans travel in & out of the US, I suppose it's too big a leap for anyone in Congress to think beyond November/2016 & imagine we might have another outbreak that we would be equally unprepared to deal with...so much for the 2 barely functioning brain cells you presumably store in your skulls (or is that too much of a stretch, too?)
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Argument opposed

Using idle Ebola funds to combat the Zika virus is a short term solution that ignores the possibility that the Ebola virus may not remain contained. Zika is a unique challenge that needs its own response.

Liz's Opinion
···
06/16/2016
Ebola is still active in Africa and could return to the US. Zika deserves its own response and its own funding.
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Mark's Opinion
···
05/02/2016
While the immediate Ebola crisis is over, there is still the possibility that another could erupt at any time. Diverting all Ebola funds would undercut efforts to prevent future outbreaks.
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Seeya's Opinion
···
02/28/2016
Zika is another fictional crisis. There are already 25,000 cases of microcephaly in the US annually, BEFORE ANY MENTION OF ZIKA. That's over 70 new cases a day, BEFORE ZIKA. But once they start putting 70 cases a day on the news you morons are going to be climbing over each other to force vaccinate your neighbors.... #lemmings
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What is Senate Bill S. 2518?

This bill would allow federal funds that were previously allocated to be used in responding to the Ebola outbreak to be used in Zika virus response and preparedness efforts as well.

It would cover all funds made available to prepare and respond to the Ebola outbreak under appropriations bills that had been previously enacted.

Impact

Funds that had been appropriated to address the Ebola virus, and the federal agencies administering those funds.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2518

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced this bill as a way to put unused Ebola funding to use in fighting the Zika virus as quickly as possible:

“We need to be prepared for emerging diseases that could prove devastating. The swiftest way of funding necessary steps is to broaden the uses permitted for unspent funds reserved for an outbreak that has been contained in the United States. Preventing pandemics is crucial to protecting the security of America, the mission of my committee and something we can all agree on.”

The Obama administration has proposed spending $1.8 billion on fighting Zika, but has pushed back against attempts to repurpose the bulk of the unused Ebola funding. About $1.4 billion in funding allocated to the Dept. of Health and Human Services to fight Ebola in 2014 remains unused, while the State Department has an additional $1.3 billion in unspent funds.


Of Note: Between January 1, 2015 and February 24, 2016 there were 107 reported cases of the Zika virus in U.S. states — all of which were travel related. Another 40 cases were reported in U.S. territories, all but one of which were locally acquired.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases believes that human testing of a Zika vaccine will begin as early as August 2016, and the vaccine could be granted an accelerated  approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the end of 2017.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Tarek_Mahmud)

AKA

Zika Response and Safety Act of 2016

Official Title

A bill to authorize the use of Ebola funds for Zika response and preparedness.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedFebruary 9th, 2016
    If the funds are already there, we should slot them to fight new diseases.
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    Ebola is still active in Africa and could return to the US. Zika deserves its own response and its own funding.
    Like (3)
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    This is a VERY conditional YEA. Given the Member who introduced the bill, I assume in an election year when no one is working on anything but getting re-elected, this is the only way to get funding for Zika. Which clearly needs to be addressed NOW! HOWEVER, doing it in this way is shortsighted! Are you really delusional enough to think Ebola is no longer an issue? If you know anything about epidemics, viruses can come & go in population groups for centuries. Since we choose not to acknowledge that humans travel in & out of the US, I suppose it's too big a leap for anyone in Congress to think beyond November/2016 & imagine we might have another outbreak that we would be equally unprepared to deal with...so much for the 2 barely functioning brain cells you presumably store in your skulls (or is that too much of a stretch, too?)
    Like (2)
    Follow
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    Experts Admit #Zika Threat Fraud • Mosquito experts are questioning the extent of emergency that actually exists. Chris Barker, Ph.D. a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD: "I think the risk for Zika actually setting up transmission cycles that become established in the continental U.S. is near zero.” • Environmental red flags have been raised over Biotech company Oxitec's GE mosquitos. The potential exists for these foreign genes, which hop from one place to another, to infect human blood by finding entry through skin lesions or inhaled dust. Such transmission could potentially wreak havoc with the human genome by creating "insertion mutations" and other unpredictable types of DNA damage. It’s important to remember, too, that Oxitec wants emergency approval based on the supposed threat of a disease that has yet to have even one locally transmitted case. • A Clean Water Act permit is generally required to spray pesticides in areas where they might end up in water. The permit is intended to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating water, but now the Zika virus has been used as an excuse to do away with this common-sense precaution. Children exposed to aerial pesticide spraying are about 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism or have a documented developmental delay than those living in areas that use other methods of pesticide application (such as manual spreading of granules). • It's possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved in suspected cases of microcephaly, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides. Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly. • Some experts recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants: Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET) Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market. Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET) is. By Dr. Mercola We’re in the midst of prime mosquito season for much of the U.S. While the exact beginning and end of mosquito season are debatable, The Washington Post recently used Google search data to pinpoint the shape of mosquito season in the U.S. Presumably, Google searchers for mosquitoes increase as mosquitoes ramp up their activity in any given area. Using this premise, The Washington Post found that mosquito searchers shoot up in May and increase steadily through July, then drop off throughout the coming fall and winter months. In the U.S., mosquito season is viewed as more of an itchy nuisance than a health threat, but that has changed somewhat this year, at least perceptually. Fears of Zika virus, which some believe may be associated with suspected cases of the birth defect microcephaly, started in Brazil and have quickly spread throughout the U.S. But are such fears warranted? Experts Admit Zika Threat Risk ‘Near Zero’ The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $622 million to fight Zika virus. Yet, by White House estimates, this is "woefully inadequate." They've recommended directing $1.9 billion to fight this latest declared public health emergency But mosquito experts are questioning the extent of emergency that actually exists. Chris Barker, Ph.D. a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD: "I think the risk for Zika actually setting up transmission cycles that become established in the continental U.S. is near zero.” Barker expects Zika to go the way of other tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, in the U.S. with perhaps small clusters of outbreaks in southern states and little activity elsewhere. Even in the Florida Keys (Florida, along with Louisiana and Texas, is said to be one of the states most at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses), the Monroe County Tourist Development Council reported: “Dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses are currently not a health threat in the Florida Keys including Key West … There has never been a report of a locally acquired case of chikungunya or Zika anywhere in the Florida Keys, according to officials at the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.” No Locally Transmitted Cases of Zika Virus Reported in U.S. As of May 25, 2016, Zika has not been spread by mosquitoes anywhere in the continental U.S. Calls to control the Aedes mosquitoes, which may carry Zika, have increased nonetheless, including in New York state, where experts say the risk of local transmission is low. Laura Harrington, Ph.D., chair of Entomology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York told WebMD: "Here in New York state, there's been a lot of pressure placed on mosquito-control districts to do as much as they can. And, they're really strapped for resources, and there's not a huge risk of transmission … ” Maps released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (#CDC) show it’s possible for Aedes mosquitoes to travel as far north as New York, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri and California. According to Harrington, the maps are inaccurate and causing unnecessary hysteria. Harrington continued: "They're showing this mosquito in places where there's no way you're going to find them … It's really unfortunate, because it's causing a lot of hysteria in places where people should be focusing on other health issues, like Lyme disease." GE Mosquitoes to Fight Zika Virus? Biotech company Oxitec has created genetically engineered (#GE) mosquitoes that carry a “genetic kill switch.” When they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherit the lethal gene and cannot survive. To achieve this feat, #Oxitec has inserted protein fragments from the herpes virus, E. coli bacteria, coral and cabbage into the insects. The GE mosquitoes have proven lethal to native mosquito populations. In the Cayman Islands, for instance, 96 percent of native mosquitoes were suppressed after more than 3 million GE mosquitoes were released in the area, with similar results reported in Brazil. Oxitec is seeking to release the GE mosquitoes in the U.S. to fight Zika, but as pointed out by Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to USA Today, the GE mosquitoes have not been shown to reduce rates of diseases such as Zika. The GE mosquitoes may also prove to be too expensive for areas that are plagued with mosquito-borne diseases. Environmental red flags have also been raised. The potential exists for these foreign genes, which hop from one place to another, to infect human blood by finding entry through skin lesions or inhaled dust. Such transmission could potentially wreak havoc with the human genome by creating "insertion mutations" and other unpredictable types of DNA damage. And according to Todd Shelly, an entomologist for the Agriculture Department in Hawaii, 3.5 percent of the GE insects in a laboratory test survived to adulthood despite presumably carrying the lethal gene. It’s important to remember, too, that Oxitec wants emergency approval based on the supposed threat of a disease that has yet to have even one locally transmitted case. Biotech Company Calls for ‘Emergency Approval’ of Controversial GE Mosquitoes The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (#FDA) has agreed with an environmental assessment submitted by Oxitec and stated that GE mosquitoes will not have a significant impact on the environment. Technically, this is referred to as a “finding of no significant impact” (#FONSI). The FDA’s report is only preliminary, but Oxitec wants the FDA to throw caution to the wind and give the GE mosquitoes emergency approval in order to fight the Zika virus. If approved, Oxitec, in partnership with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (#FKMCD), plans to release the GE mosquitoes, which go by the name of OX513A, in Key Haven, Florida, an island of the Florida Keys located about 1 mile east of Key West. More than 270,000 people have submitted comments criticizing the FDA’s environmental assessment, and numerous environmental groups are calling for the agency to conduct a more thorough review of the GE mosquitoes’ risks. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said: “The FDA really missed the mark on this one … The agency seems so eager to speed the process along that they have failed to do a real review of the potential risks, and are ignoring widespread concern in the community where the release will happen.” No Permits Required to Spray Near Water A Clean Water Act permit is generally required to spray pesticides in areas where they might end up in water. The permit is intended to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating water, but now the Zika virus has been used as an excuse to do away with this common-sense precaution. The language was inserted into the Zika Vector Control Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives. It would exempt pesticide applicators from needing a Clean Water Act permit, even when spraying near water. Critics argued the bill would do little to help fight Zika virus, since mosquito-control agencies already have authority to apply pesticides in emergency situations to prevent the spread of infectious disease without applying for permits. Opponents say the bill has nothing to do with combatting Zika and, instead has been on the table for years, with the majority pushing for its passage “under whatever name” was convenient at the time. Aerial Mosquito Spraying Linked to Increased Risk of #Autism Greed is pushing for a number of potentially dangerous “solutions” to combat mosquitoes and related diseases. By removing requirements for permits when spraying pesticides near water, it’s likely the use of these chemicals will skyrocket, including via aerial spraying. Unfortunately, many may suffer as a result. In research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting, aerial #pesticide exposure was linked to an increased risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorder among children.The study compared children living in zip codes where aerial pesticide spraying was used each summer to combat mosquitoes that carry the eastern equine encephalitis virus, with children living in non-aerial-spraying zip codes. If authorities use the supposed threat of Zika to increase aerial spraying, it could increase children’s risk of brain disorders, which is the opposite of what anti-Zika campaigns are supposed to achieve. Are There Other Potential Explanations for an Increase in Microcephaly? It's possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved in suspected cases of microcephaly, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides. Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Environmental pollution and toxic pesticide exposure have been positively linked to a wide array of adverse health effects, including birth defects. For instance: Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly The CDC lists malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals as known risk factors The CDC also notes certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and others are risk factors Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes Many experts agree that the threat of an epidemic outbreak of Zika virus on continental U.S. soil is virtually nonexistent. So you needn’t go dousing your backyard in chemicals in an attempt to stay safe from the Zika virus (whose connection to birth defects is still being explored). If however, mosquitoes are bothersome for you, there are some steps you can take to encourage them to live elsewhere. Draining standing water, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths, children’s toys and so on, is important. This is where mosquitoes breed, so if you eliminate standing water you’ll eliminate many mosquitoes. Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides. A simple house fan could also help keep mosquitoes at bay if you’re having a get-together in your backyard or, for a longer-term solution, try installing a bat house (bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes). It’s best to avoid using bug zappers in your yard, as these may actually attract more mosquitoes while killing beneficial insects. Insect foggers designed to clear insects out of your backyard should also be avoided, as they require the use of strong, potentially harmful, pesticides and don’t offer lasting protection. Even those clip-on repellents and fans that are widely sold are best avoided, as they contain even more toxic ingredients than repellents that can be applied to your skin, and they pose an inhalation hazard. Some experts also recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants: Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET) Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET) is http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/07/zika-virus-threat.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20160607Z1&et_cid=DM109756&et_rid=1519187568
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    Only makes sense doesn't it?
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    While the immediate Ebola crisis is over, there is still the possibility that another could erupt at any time. Diverting all Ebola funds would undercut efforts to prevent future outbreaks.
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    Ebola may have a resurgence and those funds might be needed. Here's a novel idea, how about Congress actually does its job and pass some legislation that allots separate funds for Zika. It can be done quickly if they fricking act like adults and do the job tax payers pay them to do, rather than all the jobs special interests and the rich pay them for.
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    To safe life why not?
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    We need to act swiftly to make sure that Zika does not become more of an epidemic. Every dollar helps research.
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    Yes, however additional funds should be immediately made available.
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    I don't see the problem using the unspent funds tagged for Ebola for Zika, especially when there is additional unused funds should the need arise.
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    What's the point of allocating funds to fighting a disease that has been defeated? Sure, it still exists, but it doesn't need millions of dollars from our government anymore. Zika is a more imminent threat, and we need to defeat it as efficiently as we did Ebola.
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    Zika is another fictional crisis. There are already 25,000 cases of microcephaly in the US annually, BEFORE ANY MENTION OF ZIKA. That's over 70 new cases a day, BEFORE ZIKA. But once they start putting 70 cases a day on the news you morons are going to be climbing over each other to force vaccinate your neighbors.... #lemmings
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    Funds earmarked for Ebola should stay put. Zika needs its own plan and funding.
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    I'm this happen by returning the unused taxpayer money to the proper government account and then reissue money on new Congressional laws authorizing the funds.
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    If the funding is already there, why not use it to fight new diseases? If Zika has the potential of becoming a public health crisis here in the United States just as it has in Latin America, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
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    Is it really that hard to figure this out?
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    The cdc has dropped the ball on Zika, now with the strong association to microcephaly we need to get data on this virus fast.The risk of this virus in the southeast US appears very high.
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    Zika is a unique challenge that needs its own response.
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    No . Refund it to the taxpayers.
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