WASHINGTON - A congressman from Florida says he brought a jar of mosquitoes to the House floor Wednesday to convey the fear and anxiety millions of Floridians feel over the Zika virus.
Republican Rep. David Jolly brought a closed, clear container of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are the type that carry the Zika virus linked to birth defects. His office said they are still in the larvae stage but were expected to hatch on Wednesday.
Congress is currently debating Zika funding. A measure for funding was blocked in Senate by Democrats Tuesday evening.
Jolly said the mosquitoes in the container are free of the virus, but taunted his fellow lawmakers about what they would do if they were released.
"I rise today to talk about Zika. And I rise with about 100 mosquitoes straight from Florida,” Jolly said. “These mosquitoes can travel only about 150 feet, but through the assistance of a plane ticket and researchers at the University of South Florida they have made it from Florida to the well of this House."
Jolly said Floridians are angry. He said it is too bad that candidates are going to spend money on campaign commercials about Zika, instead of responding together to solve the public health crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are over 2,700 cases of Zika in the United States. Thirty-five of those cases are locally acquired mosquito-borne cases.
There are 91 cases of Zika in New Jersey, according to the CDC, but none of those cases were locally acquired.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.