Without waiting for federal aid, Missouri takes steps to prevent Zika outbreak

Submitted by JW on Fri, 09/30/2016 - 08:47

The readiness measures already in place are largely precautionary. The 29 cases of Zika so far discovered in Missouri have been found among Missourians who traveled to places where outbreaks have occurred, like Central America or the Caribbean.

Should that change, the state has laid out several response procedures, including testing at a state lab, a survey of mosquito populations in the state and an outreach campaign to both the public and local health officials.

A legislative health panel recently heard testimony about the developing plan from DHSS officials. Committee chair Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville, stressed the importance of precautionary efforts.

?It?s not if it gets here, it?s when it gets here,? Haefner said. ?And the consequences to the public are huge if we don?t really get a handle on what we?re going to do if it does happen.?

Meanwhile, Congress had stalemated over passage of $1.1 billion to help states, like Missouri, fight a possible Zika outbreak. There had been general agreement on the level of spending, controversial amendments have sparked threatened Democratic filibusters in the Senate.