Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Servicemembers’ Zika Protection Act yesterday to provide U.S. troops with additional protections from the Zika virus, and authorize the Secretary of Defense to transfer funds within existing Department of Defense medical and health research accounts in order to combat the Zika virus.
“As the debate over Zika funding continues, this bill I’m offering has two additional common sense ways that we can combat this virus through the Department of Defense and protect our service members in the process,” said Rubio. “I’m hopeful we can unite behind these simple but significant proposals to provide additional anti-Zika protections to our troops, ensure our overseas bases are better protected, and authorize the Secretary of Defense to redirect the medical research funds at his disposal toward fighting this virus.
"With 100 members of our military and their families now infected with Zika, we need to take specific precautions to assist them and help our foreign partners who host Americans on military bases in regions affected by Zika,” added Rubio. “I’m hopeful that Congress will ultimately arrive at an agreement this month to fund our nation’s response to Zika, and we must ensure those deploying on our behalf receive every protection we can provide.”
According to the Pentagon, at least 81 U.S. service members and 19 dependents have tested positive for the Zika virus. Three are pregnant.
On Tuesday, it was reported that five service members and retirees from Fort Bragg are being treated for Zika after contracting the virus while traveling abroad.
In July, a civilian contract worker at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay was also confirmed to have contracted Zika.
Read the full text of Rubio’s legislation here.