Louisiana is ready for the possibility of local transmission of the
Zika Virus. There are four confirmed cases of Zika in Florida in people who did
not travel out of the country or have contact with someone who did. State Medical Director for Community Preparedness, Dr. Frank Welch, says Louisiana has been preparing since January.
“We know that we have travelers coming from the Americas every single day into Louisiana with our airports and cruise ship terminals coming to Louisiana with the Zika virus.”
Welch says Zika is such a mild illness in the vast majority of people that four out of five people who get the virus don’t even know they have it. He says those who do notice may confuse the illness with hay fever.
“Red eyes, running nose, maybe a light rash on your body and in about a week it just goes away.”
Welch says the biggest risk is when a pregnant woman contracts Zika because while the mother could experience no symptoms, the fetus is developing severe birth defects. He says there are ways for the public to help reduce local transmission by keeping the mosquito population down.
“Go out in their yard environment, within 50 yards of their house once a week and make sure there is no standing water, it will significantly reduce the mosquito populations in Louisiana.”