The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that two Louisiana residents who recently traveled to the Caribbean and South America were found to have had the Zika virus.
Both individuals no longer have symptoms, and the Zika virus was confirmed after the individuals had recovered and no longer had the virus in their bloodstream.
According to the CDC, there have been no identified cases of local, mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus in the continental United States. DHH continues to work closely with the CDC, health care professionals and mosquito abatement programs throughout the state to prevent the spread of Zika virus.
Health officials say Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus and then spread the virus to other people through bites. This transmission from human to mosquito to human can only occur during the period that the viral infection is in the first person's blood, which can last from a few days to about a week from their own initial infection.
Both of these most recent cases in Louisiana are outside of this one-week window.
All travelers to areas where Zika virus is active should be aware and take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites (wear long sleeves and pants, use EPA-approved insect repellant, etc.).
The same precautions apply at home, and people should also make sure their house is mosquito-proof by ensuring their windows and doors have intact screens and that there is no standing water around their home, especially in small containers. The CDC is also recommending that residents should check with their neighbors about standing water in their yards and neighborhoods.