Florida Zika update: Local cases near 100, Fla. Gov. allocates $25M, still no funding from Congress

As locally acquired Zika cases in the state of Florida approach 100, Gov. Rick Scott (R) will allocate $25 million in state funds to support the development of a Zika vaccine and improve testing methods, according to a Thursday announcement. The new funds bring the sum total of emergency monies made available by the governor's executive authority to $61.2 million.

According to the Florida Department of Health's Thursday update, there have been 92 cases of Zika in the state not associated with travel out of a total 874 documented cases, 90 of which have occurred in pregnant women.

"We must focus on finding a vaccine and enhancing our Zika testing capabilities to further protect pregnant women and their developing babies," said Gov. Scott. "This $25 million is a step forward for research and development in order to find a vaccine, but we still need the federal government to do their part to fully fund this mission. While I hope the federal government will recognize the dire importance of developing a vaccine and immediately pass funding, we will continue to allocate every available resource from the state."

On Sept. 12, after a meeting with House and Senate leaders from both parties, President Barack Obama expressed cautious optimism regarding the passage of Zika funds as a part of a short term legislation package to keep the government running during fiscal year 2017.

The extended partisan quarrel over Zika monies began in February when President Obama called for nearly $2 billion in funding to prepare the nation for the arrival of the Zika virus, which has been scientifically proven to cause the neurologically debilitating birth defect microcephaly.

Since February, Republicans have put forth legislation for Zika funds that proposed pulling money from other organizations like Planned Parenthood, which has incited stern opposition from Democrats.

Congress will adjourn on Sept. 30. The temporary spending bill must be passed by then to avoid federal government shutdowns and ensure the nation has adequate funding to address Zika.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Quest Diagnostics launches Zika antibody test 
Scientists able to detect traces of Zika from eye swabs 
Low-tech traps target Zika mosquitoes in Miami

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