BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Health confirms three more travel-related Zika cases in the state. None of the cases were contracted from a local mosquito bite. There are now 31 confirmed Zika virus cases in Louisiana.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth defects have been linked to the Zika virus that include eye defects, hearing loss and impaired growth. Dr. Frank Welch, medical director of community preparedness for the state health department, reminded everyone the Zika virus is most dangerous to pregnant women and women who are considering getting pregnant.
"We continue to remind people that Zika virus is spreading rapidly in many Latin America countries, and the virus can have devastating effect to fetuses. In addition to birth defects such as microcephaly, there is also evidence the virus can cause premature birth or a miscarriage," Dr. Welch said. "Women who are traveling to these regions, especially those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy, should seriously evaluate the Zika risks associated with travel."
State health officials also released West Nile virus data. Two additional cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Louisiana. The total now stands at 26 cases. The state says there have not been any West Nile-linked deaths in the state this year.