State health officials offer guidance to prevent Zika
State health officials are offering guidance on how people can prevent the transmission of Zika virus in Louisiana.
Dr. Frank Welch, with the department of health and hospitals, says the mosquito that carries Zika will be active in Louisiana this summer, but it won’t just be mosquitoes spreading the virus.
“There is the potential for local person to person spread in Louisiana. So we want to warn people beforehand to avoid mosquito bites and to get counseling and testing if they feel ill,” Welch said.
Welch says the virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact. He says if someone has a partner who has travelled to South America or the Caribbean, they need to take extra precautions, especially if the woman is pregnant.
“They are recommending using condoms for the 8 week period after return to avoid that woman getting Zika virus that may transmit to her baby,” Welch said.
Welch advises people to clear any standing water out of their yards, and wear long sleeves, pants and mosquito repellant. He says Southeastern Louisiana, and Lake Pontchartrain in particular, will be high risk areas because that’s where the mosquito that carries Zika lives.
“This mosquito is not universally distributed around Louisiana. It does then to congregate where people are and especially where swampy, warm areas are,” Welch said.