SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-Mass.)
BOSTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to request information on the spread of water and vector-borne diseases in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The letter expresses concern that due to the significant damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to the islands’ sanitation infrastructure, residents are at serious risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as leptospirosis, which has reportedly been diagnosed in people in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The group also warned of the threat of vector-borne diseases such as Zika, which is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes and sand flies.
The Senators requested the following information:
- Lists of all water- and vector-borne diseases confirmed present in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands post-Hurricane Maria and how many cases the CDC has confirmed for each disease.
- Steps the CDC is taking to support territorial agencies such as the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health in their efforts to test for and diagnose illnesses in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
- The biggest public health challenges facing Puerto Rico in the wake of the hurricanes and what the CDC is doing to help assist with preventing further suffering.
- What resources the CDC needs from Congress in order to swiftly meet the public health needs of the islands’ residents.
- How the status of water- and vector-borne diseases on Puerto Rico compares with that on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Others Included in Letter
Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).