DHH reports 2 possible cases of Zika virus in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says they’re investigating two possible cases of imported Zika virus in the state.
DHH reports that both suspected cases are from individuals who recently traveled to countries in the Caribbean. Results gathered from DHH lab tests have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. Neither of the Louisiana patients required hospitalization.
The release from DHH did not mention specifically where the cases were located.
Currently, the DHH says they’re monitoring several additional individuals who have recently traveled to the same region as the two existing cases. None of the individuals are pregnant.
“We do not believe that Zika will spread from these suspected cases,” DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard said. “Local transmission of Zika by mosquitoes is very unlikely, given the weather and environmental conditions. The chances of getting Zika from a mosquito in Louisiana are very small.”
According to health officials, the Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through bites from infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person who has the virus then spreading the virus to others through bites.
Dr. Ratard adds that experts believe the Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to another person via mosquito bites only during the period that the viral infection is in the bloodstream, a period of several days up to a week. While DHH says the two suspected Louisiana cases are outside of this one-week window, health officials have advised both patients to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is working closely with the CDC, health officials and mosquito abatement programs throughout the state to focus on preventing the spread of the virus. For more info on Zika, visit www.cdc.gov/zika/.