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Kaine Receives Briefing On Virginia’s Zika Virus Preparedness Efforts

RICHMOND, VA – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine hosted a roundtable discussion in Richmond with Virginia public health officials and health advocacy organizations to learn more about the Commonwealth’s Zika virus preparedness efforts, including community outreach and prevention efforts. Kaine discussed how the federal government can work in tandem with local and state officials to effectively fight the spread of Zika as mosquito season gets underway.

“State and local health officials are working diligently in Virginia on what we can do to be prepared against the Zika virus, and I wanted to hear from them today and be educated about their efforts,” Kaine said. “There is a significant need for Zika related funding from Congress. As of June 23rd, nearly 300 pregnant women in the United States have had lab evidence of a Zika infection, along with 250 women in the territories. I will continue to do everything I can in the Senate to find a funding agreement that ensures our public health infrastructure has the tools to do the job, that increases research on this disease – particularly on the vaccine side – and that looks into methods of mosquito eradication in the short-term.”  

Attendees at today’s roundtable discussion included: Dr. Marissa Levine, State Health Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health; Dr. Paul Jarris, Senior Vice President for Maternal and Child Health Program Impact and Deputy Medical Officer – March of Dimes; Gonzalo Bearman, Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Professor of Internal Medicine and the Hospital Epidemiologist at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System; and Page Gambill, Interim Executive Director of the Virginia Red Cross.

Last week, after Senate Republicans again delayed passage of critical funding to help stem the spread of Zika, Kaine urged his colleagues to convene a new round of talks in order to reach bipartisan consensus on a way forward.