Gov. Scott authorizes $26.2 million in state money to fight Zika

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PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Gov. Rick Scott announced last week he would use his executive authority to allocate $26.2 million in state money toward fighting the Zika virus.

The governor’s office says in a press release that the money will only be released as needed and will be used to help mosquito surveillance and abatement; training for mosquito control technicians; enhanced laboratory capacity; and to buy Zika prevention kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The allocation of the funds will be overseen by Surgeon General Celeste Philip and go directly to mosquito control programs and laboratories across Florida.

"We are in the middle of hot, rainy weather which is when mosquitoes are most prevalent," Scott says in a statement. "It is clear that allocating this funding is necessary if we are going to stay ahead of the spread of this virus. I am profoundly disappointed that Washington does not share in our commitment and has continued to play politics with the health and safety of our families. Time and time again, we have stepped up and funded issues when the federal government failed to show up. I will not let Washington’s inaction jeopardize the health, safety and wellbeing of Floridians."

The Miami Herald reports Scott has resisted using his authority to authorize state spending. Scott’s office says the federal government has given Florida close to $700,000 for mosquito control programs and labs. As of Friday, June 24, the Florida Department of Health reported the state had 180 travel-related cases of Zika, which doesn’t include 80 pregnant women who have evidence of the virus. 


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