Health officials: Uncertainty of federal Zika budget not a concern for Columbia

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COLUMBIA - While the battle for a compromise on a federal budget plan for the addressing the Zika virus wages on Capitol hill, public health officials said the funding uncertainty nationally is unlikely to impact mosquito spraying plans in Columbia this summer.

Given the low risk of contraction in Columbia, Assistant Director of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services Scott Clardy said it is unlikely any federal funds will be coming the department's way.

"I'm not sure we would see a whole lot of funding here because the threat isn't that great," Clardy said.

Clardy remained convinced however that even without the funding, mosquito prevention would not be impacted negatively in Columbia because of local funds.

"The funding for those activities are local funds. We have local dollars, local tax dollars, that are used to fund those activities. So the, having the federal funding, or not having the federal funding, should not impact those activities, in a negative way at all," Clardy said.

Columbia City Council allots around $35,000 dollars annually to the public health department to battle mosquitoes.

If federal funding were to be applied however, Clardy said the funds would be primarily used for increased education and awareness of all mosquito-borne viruses.

Spraying, which is done annually, begins in late May or early June, and occurs weekly until the end of September.

Clardy said the department will put out a news release to inform residents when and where spraying will occur.