Gov. Abbott asks President Obama to approve funds for Zika preparedness, response

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott is asking President Barack Obama to release to Texas a "meaningful portion" of hundreds of millions of dollars available to combat the Zika virus.

In the letter, Abbott said he's concerned that Zika-related funds are not flowing quickly enough to the state and local health departments.

Abbott asked for a portion of the $400 million available to sufficiently combat against the growing threat of Zika in Texas.

"In light of the mosquito-to-human transmission of the Zika virus in Florida –- and rising concerns about Zika in Texas –- it is imperative that the federal government act now to free up whatever funds are available to combat Zika," Abbott said in the letter.

"I express this sentiment not only on behalf of the State, but also on behalf of local government leaders seeking relief and protection from Zika. We request that immediate aid be provided to combat the spread of Zika and, in turn, protect our fellow Texans."

Bills providing additional federal funding for Zika have stalled in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. The Obama administration is instead diverting funds that had been earmarked for combating Ebola.

Officials have confirmed about 90 cases of travel-related Zika in Texas. Zika infections in pregnant women can cause severe brain-related birth defects.

Click here to read the full letter.


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