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Florida Mosquito Districts Ask Lawmakers To Increase Funding To Fight Zika Virus

Sascha Cordner
Members of Florida’s Mosquito Control Association, including Pasco County Mosquito Control District Director Dennis Moore (middle), are hoping to convince lawmakers to increase their legislative funding in this year’s budget.";s:

Florida’s mosquito control districts are hoping to convince lawmakers to increase their funding to help fight the Zika virus—a mosquito borne disease that can cause severe birth defects.

There were more than 1,600 cases of the Zika virus last year, which included travel-related and locally acquired cases as well as cases involving pregnant women. This year, there are already more than 30 Zika cases.

So, as Summer approaches, Pasco County Mosquito Control District Director Dennis Moore says the Florida Mosquito Control Association is watching the virus very carefully. He likens it to Hurricane season.

“The hurricanes come across,” said Moore. “We don’t know where the hurricane is going, and similarly, we don’t know where Zika might end up this year. Last year, it was in the Miami area. This year, we don’t know where it’s going, and we can’t sit and wait for it to happen. We can’t be reactive to this. We have to prepare ahead of times. So, we need the additional funds to help our programs to prepare.”

He says it doesn't help that the aedes aegypti is the carrier for the Zika virus.

“Because the approach on controlling this type of mosquito is different than other types of mosquitoes,” Moore added. “With the necessary boots on the ground, we have to do door-to-door inspections. This is very unique for us, and it’s very important that we have the resources and the funding.”

Last year, mosquito controllers received $2.6 million in the budget. This year, they’re asking for $3.8 million.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.