Last week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding its mechanism for funding local communities’ response to the Zika virus. According to the CDC, Harris County, the third largest county in the country, is ineligible for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement grants.
“Without this source of funding, I am concerned that Harris County will be unable to protect its citizens from the public health threat posed by the Zika virus,” said Congressman Ted Poe.” “Texas is roughly the same size as France. In a state that is so large, we must actively work to ensure that Harris County is not overlooked by the CDC. We are vulnerable to the threat of Zika virus for several reasons. Both mosquito vectors that carry Zika virus are present in Harris County. Located on the Gulf Coast, we have experienced high flood waters in recent months. In addition, there are also areas of our community that are poverty stricken. Each of these factors create conditions that are ideal for mosquitoes to breed. The CDC must work with our community both now and in the future to address this flawed grant system and help allocate federal dollars for Harris County’s public health response.”