Officials are trying to act after seven reported cases of the Zika Virus in Orange County.

Following seven reports of travel-associated Zika, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney joined local health experts at Orange County Community College, in asking for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the mosquito borne disease.

Despite growing number of Zika in the local area, and around the country, Congress left for summer recess without passing a bipartisan bill to battle the Zika Virus.

“Once again, Congress has been asleep at the wheel while thousands of Americans, including folks in Orange County, have contracted the Zika virus,” Rep. Maloney stated. “As parents, we shouldn’t have to worry about our kids getting bitten while waiting for the school bus or whether it’s safe to start a family.”

Maloney is the co-sponsor of a bill that hopes to provide $1.9 billion in emergency funding to the Departments of State and Health and Human Services to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Zika virus. According to Rep. Maloney, this legislation would provide $740 million towards expanding mosquito control programs, $246 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand healthcare services for pregnant women and children with Zika-related birth defects, $277 million to NIH for research and development of vaccines, and $188 million to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency to research Zika vaccines.

The petition has 165 signatures but needs 218 in order to force a vote.

“Instead of passing emergency funding to combat and stop the spread of Zika, Congress went on vacation – forcing researchers to take money from Ebola to pay for Zika,” Maloney said. “We can’t keep living virus to virus, disease to disease – and we shouldn’t be robbing Peter to pay Paul – we need to fight Ebola and Zika. I urge Congress to make this a top priority and pass emergency funding immediately.”

“There is virtually no risk of being infected with Zika virus in our region at this time. However, Orange County's Health Department will continue to be vigilant about monitoring Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases,” County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said.

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