WASHINGTON –  Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today reiterated his request that the Obama administration raise travel warnings for foreign countries where the Zika virus is widespread.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “If Americans continue to believe it is safe to travel to countries where the Zika virus is rampant, more will return home with infections.  This increases the risks for all of us, whether we travel abroad or not, because if a mosquito bites a person who has carried Zika into the U.S., that mosquito can infect every other person it bites.”

There are now 14 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Florida. These cases could have been averted or at least minimized if the administration had issued more explicit level three travel restrictions on certain countries earlier this year. Scientists agree that no mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus flew across the Gulf of Mexico. Rather, Florida-born mosquitoes bit humans who acquired Zika through travel and brought the virus with them to south Florida. These mosquitoes became carriers of the disease and infected other Floridians that they bit.

In June, Chairman Smith sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that travel warnings be raised for Zika-affected countries.