Poll shows broad support for more Zika funding

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Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a new national survey — including a majority of Republicans — believe the federal government should spend more to prevent the Zika virus from spreading in the U.S.

{mosads}The new figures, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation Wednesday morning, could up the pressure on congressional leaders as they look to break a weeks-long impasse over Zika funding.

Just over 70 percent of people said the government should spend more on research and other efforts to control the virus’s disease. Another 65 percent of people said it was important to ensure contraception and abortion were available to women infected with the virus in the U.S.

The issue of contraception has been a major sticking point among Democrats and Republicans in Congress trying to advance a $1.1 billion Zika package. Once bipartisan, the fight over the bill has since become divided along party lines.

The GOP version of the bill, which was shot down by Senate Democrats this week, would have prohibited funding from going to family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood.

Lawmakers broadly support the basic parts of the GOP bill, which would equip federal health agencies with more money to study, diagnose and amplify public outreach about the mosquito-borne disease. But because much of it would come from existing health accounts for ObamaCare and Ebola, President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, setting up a showdown as Zika becomes increasingly likely to spread in the U.S.

The disease can cause a severe birth defect caused microcephaly, and it is also linked to paralysis in adults.

The polling reveals mounting public fears about Zika, which has been on the general public radar since February. Still, it does not show signs of widespread panic. About 60 percent of people said they didn’t believe there would be a large outbreak in the U.S.

Two-thirds of people said they would not be comfortable traveling to a region where Zika is widespread. About 75 percent of people said the disease poses a “major threat” to pregnant women.

It also showed public health efforts to educate the public about Zika have a long way to go. Only half of the public knew the disease could be transmitted by sexual contact. About one in 10 people said they were aware the disease was linked to paralysis in adults.

The poll included 1,201 people and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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