Sanford calls Zika ‘burgeoning health crisis’

Samples of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. There is strong evidence the virus is to blame for an increase in birth defects.

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., said the Zika virus presents the potential for a “public health emergency,” in a prepared statement Wednesday.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. Scientists believe Zika is linked to severe birth defects and neurological disorders. No cases have yet been reported in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote a bill that would speed up the approval process for Zika virus treatments, without directing any new federal money to address the outbreak in South America or a potential outbreak in the United States.

Sanford said he supports the legislation, calling it a “commonsense and financially responsible solution to address what looks to be a burgeoning health crisis.”

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.