Texas senators pushing for Zika funding

A wet spring has led many homeowners to start preparing for mosquito season -- and with it -- the threat of the zika virus.

A wet spring has led many homeowners to start preparing for mosquito season and with it, the threat of the Zika virus.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are among those thinking ahead and pressing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding to prevent a Texas outbreak of the virus.

As many as 200 mosquitoes could be resting in an average Austin yard, and what they could be carrying is causing concern in Central Texas.

"Our business specifically for mosquitoes has been increasing by 30-40 percent every year," said Brian Kelly from ABC Home and Commercial Services.

And the company is not alone.

"Our industry as a whole around the country has picked up," Kelly added.

In the last 5 years, about half of Kelly's customers who inquire about mosquito spraying site health reasons.

They include avoiding pesky bites and a more serious scenario, the Zika virus.

For many, it causes a mild rash, but Zika passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine.

Since January 2016, the CDC reports 322 cases of Zika in Texas.

18 cases were in Travis county, five in Williamson and one was recorded in Hays.

These numbers have prompted Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to take action.

In a letter sent to the CDC, they pose several questions about $144 million of unspent federal funds specifically allocated for Zika prevention.

They want to know just how much will be used in Texas, and how quickly it will arrive for the "critical public health priority."

Locally, Kelly says his team is ready to do its part.

"We have to gear up for it when the season hits. All companies have to gear up for that time of year."

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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