Preparing For The Possibility Of A Zika Virus Outbreak
One of our state's biggest pests could become one of our state's largest health risks. Officials with the Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals are preparing now for what could become a significant outbreak of the Zika Virus this Summer. The hot spot for their concern right now is southeast Louisiana where the virus has already been detected.
Dr. Frank Welch with the DHH says that his department is already on the offensive against such an outbreak. There are already surveillance and monitoring stations set up across the region to help track and monitor the mosquitoes and the virus they carry.
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.
One of the reasons southeast Louisiana is specifically targeted is because of the city of New Orleans. New Orleans is a city where a significant amount of the population falls under poverty guidelines. It is also a city where visitors who come from countries where the Zika Virus is already prevalent like to visit.
Dr. Welch says the action plan against the virus and the mosquitoes that spread the virus will involve several state agencies.
We are working hand in hand with mosquito control, with Health and Hospitals, with physicians, to make sure that we do surveillance on both mosquitoes and humans.
Dr. Welch made his comments in a story reported by the Louisiana Radio Network. He went on to say that the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed two cases of Zika Virus in the state already. He suggested that the state is not under the gun as of now because mosquitoes have not become very active. That will change as the weather gets warmer and that's when a good solid plan needs to be in place.