Feinstein, Boxer JoinCall for Increased CDC Funding for West Nile Virus Prevention

California has accounted for 44 percent of the human cases of West Nile Virus and 50 percent of related deaths in the United States in the past year alone. Today Senators Feinstein and Boxer joined California House Members to call for increased CDC funding for West Nile Virus Prevention:

Washington, DC – Citing 618 individual cases of West Nile Virus infection across 36 of California’s counties, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) have joined 29 Members of the California Congressional Delegation to call for increased funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for protection and prevention programs.

Expressing their concern about the State’s growing epidemic, they requested adequate funding to provide for the necessary efforts to prevent further spread of the disease: mosquito prevention and control programs, the development of faster detection and diagnosis tests, and new research laboratories to study the virus.

According to CDC statistics, California has accounted for 44 percent of the human cases of West Nile Virus and 50 percent of related deaths in the United States in the past year alone. To date, however, California has only received $2.2 million in direct aid, or about 5.8 percent, of the $37.7 million allocated by the CDC for West Nile Virus prevention and protection in FY’05.

Following is the text of a letter sent to Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, by Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Representatives Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), George Radanovich (R-Calif), David Dreier (R-Calif.), William Thomas (R-Calif.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif), Wally Herger (R-Calif), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Richard Pombo (R-Calif), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.), Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.), Mary Bono (R-Calif.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.Sure ), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.):

September 16, 2005

Director Julie Gerberding, M.D.
Centers for Disease Control
Building 16, Room 5127
Atlanta, GA 30333

Dear Director Gerberding,

We are writing this letter to express our concern about the lack of adequate funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for West Nile Virus (WNV) protection and prevention in the state of California.

As you know, the anticipated WNV epidemic in California has now become a reality. To date in 2005, there have been 618 individuals from 36 counties infected with WNV and infections continue to occur at an alarming rate. As the federal agency in charge of WNV prevention, the CDC is tasked with helping states develop and carry out improved mosquito prevention and control programs, developing faster tests to detect and diagnose WNV and opening new testing laboratories for WNV.

Unfortunately, California’s share of federal funding from the CDC for WNV control has not been commensurate with the threat posed to the 36 million residents of our state. California has received in $2.2 million in direct aid, or about 5.8 percent, of the $37.7 million allocated by the CDC to states for WNV protection and prevention in FY 2005. According to CDC statistics, California has accounted for 44 percent of the human cases and 50 percent of the deaths in the United States in this year alone.

The 61 Mosquito Abatement Districts in California are doing everything in their power to prevent further spread of the disease and we applaud them for their efforts, however, such prevention is costly. We urge your immediate attention to this matter and ask that you provide California with the necessary funding to combat the growing WNV epidemic.

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