Maui News

Hirono Announces $1.1 M for Hawaiʻi to Fight Zika

December 16, 2016, 4:30 PM HST
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Senator Hirono and Governor Ige get a firsthand look at Hawaiʻi Biotech’s work in developing a Zika virus vaccine. Photo credit: Office of US Senator Mazie Hirono.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that the Hawaiʻi Department of Health will receive $1.1 million in Centers for Disease Control funding to fight the Zika virus. According to Hirono, the funding will bolster Hawaiʻi’s lab testing capacity as well as a variety of education, and vector control measures.

“Hawaiʻi needs to be vigilant against the continued threat posed by Zika, and this funding increases the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s capacity to prevent and respond to a potential Zika outbreak,” said Senator Hirono.

“We are grateful for the continued support provided to Hawaiʻi by Congress and CDC to improve the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s capacity to protect our local communities by expanding Zika-related preparedness and response activities,” said Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director of Environmental Health.

“With the high volume of travel and warm weather we experience in Hawaiʻi year-round, growing our Vector Control detection and response capabilities is crucial to preventing potential mosquito-borne disease outbreaks statewide,” said Kawaoka.

“These funds will allow us to support and enhance key Zika-related department programs to safeguard our state’s public health in the long run. In addition to building a greater capacity for disease investigation and laboratory testing, we’ll also be better able to support the mothers and babies who have been impacted by the effects of Zika,” said Dr. Sarah Park, Hawaiʻi State Epidemiologist.


The grants were funded through emergency supplemental funding that Senator Hirono supported, and Congress approved, in September. Earlier this year, Senator Hirono met with Governor David Ige, Hawaiʻi Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler, and top Hawaiʻi public health experts to raise awareness of the threat Zika poses to Hawaiʻi families.


Hawaiʻi will receive federal Centers for Disease Control funding from the following three programs:

  • Zika Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Activities ($919,149) – This program supports vector control programs, strengthens laboratory capacity, and bolsters participation in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry to monitor pregnant women with Zika and their infants.
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response Activities ($58,603) – This funding is awarded to communities at high risk for Zika outbreaks, and can be used to rapidly respond to a Zika outbreak, and to strengthen coordination between government and non-government first responders.
  • Zika Birth Defects Surveillance Activities ($200,000) – This program establishes systems to rapidly detect microcephaly–a serious birth defect directly linked to Zika– and other adverse outcomes potentially related to Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
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