Democratic U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen called on Congress today to provide money for research on the Zika virus. She spoke to state and town officials in Salem, where mosquitos with both West Nile and EEE have been successfully controlled in years past.
During the briefing, Shaheen made a point to criticize Congress. The National Institute of Health, she says, needs money to develop a vaccine to the Zika virus. And, Shaheen told state and town officials, Congress needs to make that happen.
“There’s been a transfer of money,” Shaheen said, “taking it away from the fight for against opioids and for cancer research and diabetes research. But the actual funding to make sure that research continues, that we develop a vaccine, is critical.”
An outbreak is unlikely in New Hampshire, Salem’s mosquito control contractor told Shaheen, because NH is not very habitable to the two species of mosquito known to carry Zika.
Still, there are eight infected patients in the state. Seven contracted the virus while abroad, one through sexual contact with a recent traveler. The state’s health department has received $800,000 in federal grants to increase lab capacity, train staff and buy equipment in response to the Zika threat.