WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken announced Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $200,000 in funding for the state of Minnesota for Zika detection and preparedness.
The federal grant will help establish, enhance, and maintain systems to detect and track microcephaly and other adverse birth outcomes caused by the Zika virus, a release from Klobuchar and Franken's offices said.
"This new federal funding will help Minnesota detect and track those at risk for microcephaly and other adverse birth outcomes caused by the Zika virus," Klobuchar stated in a news release. "We don't have the luxury of time, we have to act now to stop the spread of Zika."
"The Zika virus is a real threat to Americans, which is why we need to stop its spread by investing in measures to track the virus, block transmission, and to speed up the development of treatments and a vaccine," Franken said in a news release.
In April, Klobuchar and Franken sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee and called for the immediate passage of the administration's $1.9 billion emergency supplemental funding request for the prevention and treatment of the Zika virus outbreak. In April, Franken's bipartisan measure—co-sponsored by Klobuchar—to speed up the development of vaccines and treatments was signed into law. Klobuchar and Franken are also cosponsors of Senator Bill Nelson's (D-Fla.) bill to provide emergency supplemental appropriations to address the Zika crisis (S. 2843) by fully funding the president's $1.9 billion request.
In May, Klobuchar and Franken convened a roundtable discussion with doctors and researchers from the University of Minnesota, including Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the school's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, and Minnesota Department of Health officials, to discuss Zika educational and outreach efforts in Minnesota and federal efforts to support local prevention measures and research. In June, Klobuchar, as chair of the Senate Steering and Outreach Committee, convened a steering committee roundtable with medical experts, public health officials from across the country, and other senators to discuss the need for Congressional action on the president's emergency funding request to control the spread of the Zika virus.