Sanders Supports Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Virus

WASHINGTON, May 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today ahead of votes in the Senate on a series of measures to address the spread of Zika virus:

“It is critical that we protect individuals and families from the potentially serious health effects of the Zika virus. Forty-five countries have experienced their first outbreak of Zika this past year, and more than 1,200 cases have already been reported in the United States and U.S. territories. Zika infection during pregnancy can have devastating consequences, and the virus is a particular threat to women where there is little or no access to contraception and reproductive health care services.

“As we have learned from other global health threats, it is critical to take swift action early in the spread of an epidemic. That is why I support the president’s request for emergency supplemental funding to address the Zika virus epidemic. The Murray-Blunt compromise is a good step – we simply cannot afford to wait to address this public health crisis. We must ensure health care providers in areas affected by the disease, including Puerto Rico, have the resources they need to combat it. We must also fund crucial public health prevention efforts like bed nets and mosquito repellant, research on a vaccine and international response activities.

“The World Health Organization projects the Zika virus could affect up to 4 million people this year. The United States must take action immediately and work with our international partners to tackle this epidemic.”