St. Tammany Parish Coroner: Zika Virus Cause For Caution, Not Alarm

LACOMBE, LA – Zika virus infections have becoming increasingly common in recent news reports, and St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said that while precautions are appropriate, alarm is not.

         "Zika virus poses a significant risk to a very small sub population of people, most notably pregnant women traveling in the Caribbean and South America, but I believe the risk to Louisiana residents is very small," Preston said. "Zika infection is a generally benign condition and most people are asymptomatic. The citizens of St. Tammany should find some reassurance in the fact the parish has an ongoing mosquito abatement program.  Still, we can all do our part to help. Pour out standing water around your home, use mosquito repellent containing DEET, and wear long sleeves and long pants at dawn and dusk, the time the mosquitoes are most active."

         Preston said federal funding for Zika virus research and response has been designated at $1.8 billion – roughly $1.8 million for each case reported to-date in the United States.

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         "Common-sense and well-known mosquito abatement behaviors are still our best weapons against this disease process," Preston said. "These same measures are also effective for people who must travel in endemic areas, but pregnant women traveling to Zika areas should give consideration to alternative travel plans, if possible. In an abundance of caution, people who have traveled to endemic areas can self-quarantine and avoid unprotected sex for two weeks as an extra measure of safety."

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