YUMA, Ariz. – President Barack Obama is asking for $1.8 billion of tax payer money to go toward the fight against Zika virus on United States soil.
Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the U.S. already has money reserved for combating the virus known to potentially cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads.
“The administration has a bit of a track record of over-requesting what they need. Don’t forget one thing. There’s money in the pipeline right now. We take this very seriously; $600 million has already been reprogrammed, so they have money right now,” said Ryan.
The virus can be spread by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, a bug found year-round in Yuma County.
“The ones that transfer the Zika are the ones that travel below your knees and we call them ankle biters,” Yuma County Health Department Vector Control Specialist Joey Martinez said.
Despite the potential threat, Martinez says mosquitoes trapped by the Yuma County Health Department last month tested negative for the Zika virus.
“Yes with increased funding we could spray some more if we have increased resources,” Yuma County Health Department Deputy Director Maria Nunez said.
At this time, Yuma County has not had a case of the Zika virus and officials say they continue to work to keep it that way. Especially with the possible federal grants they hope will come through.
“The season itself is just beginning it’s just going and your going to see a lot more mosquitoes because they like the heat and the humidity and if it rains more, your going to see a lot more,” said Martinez.
Although the health department sprays down areas with heavy mosquito activity, Martinez says residents need to be cautious themselves.
“Your going to find it in your backyard, inside your home, your dog water bowls, your indoor outdoor plants that are right there next to you because it prefers to live with people,” said Martinez.