Local Officials Discuss Preparedness Activities in the Event of a Zika Occurrence and Urge Residents to Take Precautions
to Protect themselves and their Homes
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined local officials to remind residents of the precautions they should take to protect themselves and their homes from mosquitos, as well as provide an update on the City of New Orleans’ outreach activities and overall preparedness in the event of a Zika virus occurrence. At this time, there are no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in New Orleans or Louisiana; however, travel-related cases of Zika virus have been identified in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana.
The New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board (Mosquito Control Board) maintains a robust mosquito surveillance program, and today, the city announced plans to allocate an additional $500,000 to more aggressively target the two mosquito species that are the primary carriers of Zika virus, the Yellow fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito. The Mosquito Control Board has an annual budget of $3.5 million, which supports the department’s overall functions of monitoring and controlling populations of mosquitoes, termites, and rodents in order to reduce rodent and insect-borne diseases.
“The Zika virus is an extremely serious public health threat,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are doing everything that we can to be ready through intensive mosquito control efforts and comprehensive educational outreach, but we must have state and federal resources to sustain the aggressive response appropriate for this very serious health threat. I’m also calling on the public to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones by removing mosquito breeding sources from their properties. This has to be a unified effort from all parties involved.”
Click here to download a factsheet on the Zika virus
The Mosquito Control Board uses an integrated mosquito management approach which includes mosquito population surveillance, public education, source reduction, eliminating mosquito breeding sites, biological control and pesticides when appropriate. Spray trucks and airplane spraying are also used when needed.
Mosquitos breed in standing water. Residents are strongly encouraged to assist in reducing mosquito populations around their homes and businesses by removing trash and clutter; disposing of discarded tires and containers that can hold water; turning over wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children's toys or anything that could collect water.
Mayor Landrieu has also urged Congress to appropriate money to be used for local preparedness and vector control. In May, he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in support of the Obama Administration’s request of $1.9 billion in federal emergency supplemental appropriations funding to respond the threat of the Zika virus. Click here for his testimony.
In April 2016, the City of New Orleans released a comprehensive plan to address the Zika Virus threat. The plan guides coordination among various departments and identifies preparedness and response initiatives to be taken in the city. Currently, the Mosquito Control Board and the New Orleans Health Department are coordinating with key partners to provide information about the Zika virus to the public and conduct door-to-door outreach in high-risk neighborhoods across the city. Partner agencies include the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association.
About Zika Virus
Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito or through sexual contact with an infected person. One in five people infected may develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and red eyes. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The illness can cause mild symptoms lasting up to a week.
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection, nor any specific medicine to treat it.
If diagnosed with Zika virus, you are urged to protect yourself from mosquito bites. If a mosquito bites you, it can spread the virus and infect others. If infection is suspected, travel history should be shared with the healthcare provider. Additionally because Zika Virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, infected individuals should use condoms.
The CDC recommends treating the symptoms by resting, drinking fluids and taking certain types of pain medicine. Click here for more information.
Zika virus can be spread from a mother to its fetus during pregnancy. There have been reports of serious birth defects in the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had the virus while pregnant. Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be smaller as compared to other babies that are the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly. There is no treatment to correct microcephaly.
CDC Travel Alert
In January 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
Click here for a list of affected countries
Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you must travel to one of the areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip. It is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use insect repellent.
- Reduce mosquito exposure by limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.
- Use air-conditioning and make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.
- If outside for long periods of time, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- The CDC recommends using repellents containing EPA-registered active ingredients including DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
- When using repellent, always follow the recommendations on the product label.
Protecting Your Home and Business
- Eliminate standing water around your home, where mosquitoes breed.
- Remove trash and clutter, dispose of discarded tires and containers that can hold water. Turn over wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children's toys or anything that could collect water.
- Change water weekly in containers that cannot be removed, such as pet dishes or bird baths. Scrub the side of the containers each week to remove the eggs that have been deposited.
- Rain barrels and other water collection devices must be screened and collected water should be used within one week.
- Aerate ornamental pools, fountains and sugar kettles or stock them with fish.
- Report illegal dumping, water leaks and unattended swimming pools and by calling 311.
- Call 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report mosquito problems.
Tires are easily filled with water by rain and collect leaf litter, providing an ideal breeding site for mosquito larvae. Eliminating scrap tire dumps will eliminate a prolific mosquito habitat.
- Residents can place up to four tires weekly, stacked curbside along with their household trash.
- Tires in front of abandoned lots will not be collected; they must be moved in front of a residence with curbside collection.
- Residents can also bring up to four tires to the City’s Recycling Drop-off Center on the second Saturday of each month, which is located at 2829 Elysian Fields Avenue between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Click here for more information on Household Item Recycling