Residents concerned on how to fight Zika in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE – With the recent spike in Zika cases in Florida, Louisianians are wondering what they can do to prevent infection and how they can get tested.
Health officials have urged pregnant women to stay away from north Miami where ten additional Zika cases have been reported, totaling to 14 cases. Officials have confirmed that it is the first transmission from mosquitoes locally.
"What is important to know is we don't have any cases of local transmission here in Louisiana. We don't have individuals yet who have contracted this illness from local mosquitoes," Dr. Parhan Jaberi, assistant state health officer, said.
"All the cases thus far have been those who have traveled to an affected area outside the US," Jaberi said.
Last month, the state was awarded $2.4 million by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to fight the virus in Louisiana. However, having multiple Zika cases in a neighboring state is causing some women who are pregnant to worry.
"Obviously you are nervous. As a pregnant person the first thing is number one getting pregnant, and once you are pregnant, you know the health of your baby, and making sure you do everything you can possibly do to make sure you have a healthy baby," Allyson Ponsock said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention plans to supply prevention kits to people if the concern in the state grows.
According to health officials, getting tested will be more difficult for women who are not pregnant unless they show symptoms or have traveled to an area with the virus.
"What the Louisiana Department of Health is doing is making sure that we prepare ourselves and educate our residents as best as possible, that includes using insect repellent when outside, wearing long sleeve shirts or pants when outside," Jaberi said.
In July, the state was awarded $2.4 million to fight the Zika virus and an additional $400, 000 was awarded on Tuesday.