U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, and Bill Nelson (D-FL) have introduced legislation to “fully fund” President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion funding request to fight the Zika virus.

The measure is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Senator Mazie Hirono editorial board. 24 march 2016.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono at Civil Beat’s offices. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“In Hawaii, the threat of the Zika virus remains a major public health concern, especially as we approach the summer months,” Hirono said in a press release. “Five cases of the Zika virus have already been reported in our state, and given what we know about Zika, we must face this head on instead of taking a piecemeal approach to preparing our families, health care workers and providers, and communities.”

The legislation would fund programs that expand diagnostic testing and treatment capacity, increase education for pregnant women and healthcare providers, improve health services and support for pregnant women and enhance vector programs in affected areas, according to a press release.

More than 800 Americans and residents of American territories have been infected with the Zika virus.

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