According to the CDC, there have already been 1,200 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. and territories, including several in Minnesota

$1.1 billion in emergency funds passed the Senate today on a bipartisan basis and would help mitigate the spread of Zika and respond to outbreaks of the virus

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken supported emergency funding to help stem the spread of the Zika virus in the United States.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been over 1,200 reported cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. and its territories, including several in Minnesota. The $1.1 billion in emergency funds that passed the Senate today on a bipartisan basis, with the support of Senators Klobuchar and Franken, would help mitigate the spread of Zika and respond to outbreaks of the virus.


“The outbreak and spread of the Zika virus requires an urgent response from the United States so that we can prevent its spread and treat those who have been infected,” said Klobuchar. “The Senate worked together to pass this emergency funding request to reduce the potential for more Zika infections, and now the Senate and House need to work together to send the President a bill he can sign into law. We don’t have the luxury of time, we have to act now.”

“The Zika virus is a real threat, and we need action to curtail its spread and encourage the development of treatments and a vaccine,” said Franken. “This emergency support will help fight back against the disease, and now, we need to work with the House of Representatives and with President Obama to make sure that the funding measure becomes law. This is far too important of an issue to ignore.”


The CDC reports that over 100 pregnant women in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Zika virus, which can cause a range of birth defects. The funds will be used to control mosquitos that carry the Zika virus, raise awareness of Zika virus disease, provide education on how to reduce risk of becoming infected, and accelerate development of a vaccine. The funding would also be used to compensate domestic public health emergency funds that were reallocated to pay for continued Zika emergency response efforts.


Last month, on the heels of the CDC’s confirmation of the link between Zika infection during pregnancy and severe birth defects like microcephaly, Klobuchar and Franken called for emergency funding to combat Zika.


In February, Sen. Franken introduced bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar, to incentivize the development of a treatment and vaccine for the Zika virus, and President Obama recently signed this bill into law. There are currently no known treatments or vaccines for the disease.