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Jaime Herrera Beutler Prioritizes Zika Prevention Measures For Low Income Mothers in Agriculture Appropriations Bill

U.S. House committee approves Jaime’s request for $10 million to prevent contraction of Zika

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Washington, DC, April 20, 2016 | comments
Yesterday, Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully pushed to include Zika prevention measures for low income mothers in the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill that was approved unanimously by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
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Yesterday, Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully pushed to include Zika prevention measures for low income mothers in the 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill that was approved unanimously by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

Jaime championed the effort to direct $10 million toward Zika prevention in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program. WIC operates in all 50 states and the U.S. territories, and offers nutritional and other assistance to low-income pregnant women.

With Jaime’s directive, WIC must dedicate $10 million within its budget to expand its Zika prevention efforts in the continental United States. WIC already has Zika prevention efforts underway in affected U.S. territories including educational outreach to low-income mothers focused on preventing the spread of Zika virus and distributing Zika kits, which include bug repellant, bed nets, and larvacide.

Zika can cause serious harm to the fetus if a woman is infected during pregnancy. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed growing fears that the Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects. Thousands of devastating birth defects have been observed among infants born to Zika virus-infected mothers in South and Central America in recent months.  Zika has already been diagnosed in travelers returning to the U.S. from these areas.

“We have a responsibility to act now to protect women and children from the devastating threats of the Zika virus,” said Jaime. “As the summer months approach and we enter mosquito season, the U.S. will be directly exposed to mosquitos that can spread this virus and we must be prepared. Dedicating resources now is necessary to not only protect the health of Americans, but also to protect taxpayer dollars down the road.”

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