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Dear Chairman Cochran, Ranking Member Leahy, Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey,

On behalf of our organizations representing patients, health care providers, public health, and businesses, we urge you to include ample funding to combat the Zika virus in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills.

Zika virus continues to pose a major threat to the health and well-being of our nation’s pregnant women and infants. While transmission rates are low here during winter in the northern hemisphere, Zika is expected to resurge when mosquitos emerge this spring. Local transmission is still occurring in the Southern part of the country, most notably in Texas, where a pregnant woman was recently infected. Additionally, Americans continue to travel to areas with active local transmission, such as the Caribbean, where they may become infected. And while federal funding has allowed for tremendous progress on a Zika vaccine, it is still at least two years away from being widely available.

The Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act took vital steps to provide resources to prevent, diagnose and treat cases of Zika virus infection and its health consequences. These funds are making possible rapid progress toward a vaccine, critical studies on the natural history of Zika and its health effects, and preparations for more effective vector control this summer. However, this single infusion of funds will not be sufficient to sustain the long-term effort needed to combat Zika.

Fighting Zika effectively will require a multi-faceted approach. The National Institutes of Health needs continued funding to develop Zika vaccines and to study the disease. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention must have funding to conduct and improve Zika diagnostics and to support state prevention efforts, including vector control. State, local and tribal governments must have appropriate resources for their work, including enhanced laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance capacity, continued vector control, and public awareness and education campaigns. We look forward to working with you to ensure that each of these key strategies is funded appropriately.

Our organizations are currently working to develop more specific requests for Zika funding in Fiscal Year 2018, which we will convey to you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if we can be of additional assistance, please contact Jaimie Vickery, Director of Federal Affairs at the March of Dimes, at 202- 6591800 or jvickery@marchofdimes.org.

Sincerely,

AABB
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Public Health Association
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Black Women's Health Imperative
Children's Environmental Health Network
Commissioned Officers Association of the US. Public Health Service, Inc.
Cooley's Anemia Foundation
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Family Voices
GBS|CIDP Foundation International
Genetic Alliance
Grifols
Healthcare Ready
Infectious Diseases Society of America
March of Dimes
National Association of Community Health Centers
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Birth Defects Prevention Network
National Environmental Health Association
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Organization for Rare Disorders
Novavax
OraSure Technologies
Organization of Teratology Information Specialists
Public Health Institute
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Research!America
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Spina Bifida Association
Teratology Society
The Arc of the United States
The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Trisomy 18 Foundation
Trust for America's Health