WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) this week introduced S. 2899, the Zika Response and Regulatory Relief Act, legislation that would provide immediate regulatory relief to expedite efforts to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The legislation would waive certain permitting and reporting requirements of the Clean Water Act for six months to allow state and local authorities to more quickly and efficiently protect the public health during the North American mosquito season. While several travel-related cases have been reported in the United States, no one has contracted the Zika virus domestically.
“The Zika virus has become a serious public health threat that needs to be addressed, and I believe that by deploying mosquito control processes, like pesticide applications, we can take an important first step in combatting this virus,” said Thune. “By removing unnecessary regulatory burdens, we can free up time and resources needed to combat the threat of the Zika virus as the mosquito season approaches.”
According to the World Health Organization, the Zika virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.