Senator introduces legislation to fight diseases such as Zika and Ebola

April 27, 2016

Al Franken of Minnesota aims to establish a coordinated One Health response to animal disease outbreaks.

FrankenSenator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced legislation that would establish a coordinated national plan to fight diseases that come from animal sources such as Zika and Ebola, according to a press release. The One Health Act of 2016 would task the nation's regulatory agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to work together to understand, prevent and respond to animal disease outbreaks.   

Franken is a member of the Senate Health Committee and has worked to prevent the growing threat of these diseases, the release states. When Ebola threatened the U.S. in 2014, Franken worked with Minnesota health agencies and national groups to create a statewide response to the disease. More recently, he introduced bipartisan legislation to speed up the process for developing safe and effective treatment and vaccines for the Zika virus.

If passed, the One Health Act of 2016 would also create competitive grant programs to carry out the programs outlined in the framework and spur collaboration between health programs at the state and local level, according to the release. The legislation also urges international health organizations to increase investments in One Health approaches to global health security.