Mayor Landrieu, City Officials Outline Preparedness Activities In The Event Of A Zika Virus Occurrence

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined state and local health officials to outline the City of New Orleans’ preparedness in the event of a Zika virus occurrence. Zika virus is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of a Zika virus infected mosquito. At this time, there are no known travel or locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in New Orleans. Two travel-related cases of Zika virus have been identified in Louisiana.

         “The Zika virus is a public health threat that we’re preparing for now in case of an occurrence in New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “While there are no travel or locally transmitted cases of Zika virus in New Orleans, we’re taking this very seriously and being proactive. Together with federal and state agencies, we’re actively monitoring the mosquito population and have developed a comprehensive plan that includes intensive mosquito control efforts. We’re launching an aggressive education campaign so that the public can better protect themselves. And we’re ready to respond to travel and locally transmitted cases of Zika virus if they develop. Residents are highly encouraged to take this public health threat seriously and do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

         Currently, the City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board (NOMTCB) and the New Orleans Health Department are coordinating with key partners to provide information about the Zika virus to the public. This includes the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association.

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         NOMTCB has initiated its 2016 mosquito surveillance program, which is monitoring the two mosquito species that are the primary carriers of Zika virus, the Yellow fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito. NOMTCB 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 will be used if needed.

         Mosquitos breed in standing water. Residents are 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.

         Read about the Zika virus here

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         City Council President Jason Rogers Williams said, “I am so pleased that we are taking a proactive approach to this potential public health threat. New Orleans does not have the luxury to ignore such mosquito borne illnesses, but we are also particularly well suited to address such threats. The Zika virus is a cause of great anxiety, especially to pregnant women and their families. I am convinced that a coordinated plan to address the virus will not only serve us well in the future, but will also go a long way toward alleviating our fears in the present.”

         District B Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, “With confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans is facing the challenge of protecting its citizens from this dangerous infective agent.  New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board and the New Orleans Health Department has provided information about prevention, symptoms, and effects of the Zike virus.  Please heed their warnings and follow their advice.  This will help you, your family and neighbors avoid infection.”

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         District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, “We all know how active mosquitoes can be here, and we have both the climate and species of mosquitoes potentially to allow the virus to spread. So we should all take precautions to make sure we aren’t leaving standing water in our yards and take any other measures we can to limit the mosquito population and our interaction with mosquitos as we head into the active season.”


About Zika Virus 

         Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. One in five people infected may develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, vomiting and red eyes. Symptoms usually begin 3-7 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.

         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


         On Jan. 15, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

         Read the list of affected countries here


         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.



Protecting Yourself

• 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 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.



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