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FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2016, file photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito, known to be a carrier of the Zika virus, acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute of Sao Paulo University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

Miami just found more Zika mosquitoes, and Congress is still stuck on what to do about it


A new mosquito sample taken in Miami Beach tested positive for the Zika virus, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced on Friday, along with a warning from the mayor that the threat of Zika "continues to grow."

The announcement came at the end of a week where Congress  once again failed to pass a bill  that would fund a federal Zika response.

A $1.1 billion funding package to combat the Zika virus has been stalled in Congress, mainly due to partisan arguments over the women's health organization Planned Parenthood.

Seriously, Planned Parenthood?

Though a Planned Parenthood reference may seem unrelated to Zika, the current version of the Zika funding package includes a provision to cut money from the organization. Because of that, Senate Democrats have refused to sign onto the bill, and Republicans have been reluctant to remove the provision.

There may, however, be a compromise bill in the works. CNN reported  on Friday that "a growing number of House and Senate Republicans" expect a bill will soon be passed  "without restrictions on Planned Parenthood."

I am doing everything in my power to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents and visitors.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

Zika on the rise in Florida

In the meantime, Zika is continuing to spread in Florida. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine did not mince words about the seriousness of the increasing problem."

"Today's announcement reinforces the need for us to continue being as aggressive as we can be against Zika," he said.  

Spraying insecticide

Because of the seriousness of the problem, Florida on Friday once again used a controversial tactic of solving it -- spraying aerial insecticide all over areas targeted for the virus. 

Airplanes have already been flying over Miami spraying an EPA-approved insecticide called Naled, a neurotoxin that kills adult mosquitos. But some scientists have said high exposure to the chemicals used in Naled can have negative long-term health effects.

624 pregnant women in America with Zika

The Zika virus is widely thought to cause microcephaly, a severe fetal brain defect, and is therefore most dangerous to pregnant women. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) recently said 80 pregnant women in his state have Zika.

And according to NBC News, the Centers for Disease Control currently knows of 624 pregnant women affected by Zika in the continental United States.

Zika spreading in other countries, too

The Zika outbreak is not just limited to the United States. The disease has been reported in nearly every country in South America, and has been named a "public health emergency of international concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO).

New cases have also recently emerged in the Phillipines, Thailand, Cape Verde, and Singapore.

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