Rep. Soto’s Zika, Vector-Borne Diseases Prevention Bill Passes Congress, Heads to President’s Desk

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congress passed H.R. 345 the SMASH Act or “Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Act,” legislation authored by U.S. Representative Darren Soto (FL-09) that supports and expands programs for mosquito-borne and vector-borne disease surveillance and control. This legislation was included as section 607 of the Senate version S.1379, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019. It passed by voice vote in both the House and the Senate.

“We’re incredibly proud this bipartisan legislation passed in Congress and now urge President Trump to promptly sign this bill into law,” stated Rep. Darren Soto. “Infectious diseases caused by mosquitoes, like Zika and West Nile virus, continue to be a growing threat to public health. That’s why it’s crucial to study the impact and prevention programs for mosquito-borne and other vector-borne diseases, and this bill accomplishes these goals.”

The SMASH Act authorizes $100 million per year for each year from 2019 through 2023 for mosquito control programs and $190 million in Epidemiology-lab grants. It also amends the Public Health Services Act to revise and extend through 2023 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) grants for mosquito control programs. The grant program is expanded so grants may be used to address emerging, infectious mosquito-borne diseases and to improve existing control programs.

The CDC can give preferences to applicants that have a public health emergency due to a mosquito-borne disease, or a control program that is consistent with existing state preparedness plans. The requirement for matching funds may be waived if the area covered by a grant applicant has an extreme need due to the size or density of the potentially impacted human population, the size or density of the mosquito population that requires heightened control, or the severity of the mosquito-borne disease.

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