Texas has its first case of Zika-related birth defects, and we still don’t have national funding to fight the virus.
Sixty-three cases have been reported statewide, with nine in Tarrant County, says the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas is particularly vulnerable to Zika because of recent flooding.
At least Gov. Greg Abbott understands the gravity of the virus, implementing the Zika Virus Preparedness and Response Plan after getting it reviewed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
A $2.5 million public outreach campaign has started, with education materials and advertising helping build awareness in the state. State Health Services has also approved more labs to test for Zika, while trying to improve ways to detect the virus even without symptoms.
Texas needs more money for its plan, but with Congress still deadlocked, don’t hold your breath waiting to see funding any time soon.
This isn’t a topic Congress should squabble about. This isn’t the bill for inserting random provisions, like hindering birth control access or loosening pesticide restrictions.
The United States needs Zika prevention funding.
Congress needs to get its act together.