Gov. Robert Bentley has approved $250,000 in emergency funds to go toward fighting the Zika virus and mosquito control efforts in Alabama.
Bentley authorized the funding Friday after receiving a request for mitigation assistance from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
“As we continue to see cases of Zika around the country, we want to make sure Alabama is prepared as possible to respond quickly, should the need arise,” Bentley said in a release. “The funds that I have authorized are available if Alabama needs to respond and if ADPH needs to move quickly with mosquito control efforts. We do not expect the need for these funds, but I am glad to ensure the state is prepared to respond immediately to the virus.”
The ADPH continues to follow closely the current situation with the Zika virus and adjusts the state’s response plan accordingly.
“We are very pleased that Gov. Bentley has approved the use of emergency funds to assist us with combatting Zika in Alabama, State Health Officer Dr. Tom Miller said. “It is very likely that we will have local transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitos like Florida is now experiencing. These funds will assist us to respond aggressively to protect our citizens. This is especially important for pregnant women and their unborn babies, since Zika can cause severe birth defects.”
Public health environmentalists have been working with communities across the state to reduce mosquito breeding. They also conduct courtesy yard inspections for people in the vicinity of those who have tested positive for Zika.
To date, there are 15 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in five Alabama counties.