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Mosquito Control Funding

Image: mosquitoes, floridahealth.gov
Image: mosquitoes, floridahealth.gov

While Congress can leave the Capitol for a vacation without figuring out how much money we need to fight the Zika virus, there's no stopping the summer rains, unbearable heat and mosquitos that are about to hit Florida.

Already some in the Sunshine State are struggling to keep pace with the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the virus, which causes mild symptoms in most people but can cause serious birth defects to the unborn fetuses of pregnant women.

As U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio fought to get $1.9 billion to battle the virus, Nelson read on the Senate floor a letter from Osceola County to the state Health department, which says they have exhausted their resources and need about $900,000 more to contain the spread of the mosquitoes.

Florida has 61 mosquito control districts with varying amounts of funding. The New York Times reports Lee County's mosquito program spends $16 million, while Miami-Dade County spends $1.8 million, and some Florida counties, don't even have a program.

Medical experts in Atlanta recently said this patchwork of local mosquito control programs run at the county-level across the country means the U.S. isn't ready to stop the spread of Zika.

So, while you wait for Congress to gets its act together, remember this summer to wear mosquito repellent and throw out any standing water on your property. Even something as small as a bottle cap can hold enough water to become this mosquito's breeding center.