On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) chaired a congressional hearing on the Zika Virus—which the head of the Centers for Disease Control is now calling a “silent epidemic.” This comes as Congress still has not taken action on a bill to fund Zika prevention efforts and will recess soon.
Rubio says he’s alarmed by the state’s increasing Zika cases.
“The Friday before last, federal health officials confirmed the largest number of new Zika infections in a single day in the state of Florida with 10 new cases,” he said. “That was a short-lived record. It was broken last Wednesday, when Florida confirmed 11 new Zika infections. That record was broken again on Monday of this week when 13 new infections were reported.”
11 more cases reported this Wednesday brings Florida’s total to 293. And, Rubio says it will only get worse. He still worries over the Olympic athletes and others traveling to Brazil—considered the epicenter of the Zika outbreak. But, CDC Director Tom Frieden says really one group in particular has cause for concern.
“All travel involves risk—maybe from a motor vehicle crash, maybe from infectious diarrhea, maybe from dengue, or other disease,” said Dr. Frieden. “We don’t think the risk will outweigh the travel benefits for most people, except the group of pregnant women.”
Still, he says the CDC plans to conduct a study on Olympic athletes who contract the mosquito-borne disease that can cause birth defects, temporary paralysis in other cases, and can be sexually transmitted.
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