The state is preparing for possible Zika outbreak
Posted on 3/21/2016 3:29:00 AM.

Experts say southeast Louisiana is at a high risk of a Zika outbreak this summer. Dr. Frank Welch, with the Louisiana Department Health and Hospitals says state and local health officials are performing extensive surveillance.

“So that we know when the mosquito is here, when Zika is here, and when it’s transmitting. So we’re doing an enormous amount of work, it’s done yet but we’re moving forward very rapidly.”

A study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research finds New Orleans is at a high risk because of the high poverty rate and a lot of visitors from countries where Zika is prevalent. Welch says different agencies are coming together to protect the state from an outbreak.

“We are working hand in hand with mosquito control, with Health and Hospitals, with physicians, to make sure that we do surveillance on both mosquitos and humans.”

The Center for Disease Control says there were two confirmed travel-related Zika cases in Louisiana last month but none transmitted locally. Welch says New Orleans isn’t at an increased risk just yet because right now the mosquito is not active, but…

“We do expect the mosquito will become active in the summer and that does increase the possibility of Zika transmission.”

Department of Health and Hospitals, Frank Welch, zika virus, mosquitos

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