Lawmakers OK health budget cuts in fight over virus data

Missouri lawmakers seeking more information about a potentially deadly virus have cut the budget for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Last week, the committee approved eliminating 10 staffers from the office of the department’s director and cutting the department’s budget roughly in half.

That comes after lawmakers have spent weeks asking the department for data on the number of people who have tested positive for antibodies for the Bourbon virus.

The virus was discovered in 2014 after a man in Bourbon County in eastern Kansas contracted flu-like symptoms and eventually died after being bitten by ticks. Not much is known about the virus because of how few cases have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Missouri’s health department has resisted providing information to lawmakers, citing patient privacy concerns.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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