Researchers: For now, threat of Zika in N.O. is low

Antwan Harris brings us to a group of Tulane researchers studying the Zika virus.

NEW ORLEANS -- Inside a lab at Tulane University's Public Health and Tropical Medicine building, Dawn Wesson, an associate professor of tropical medicine looks at hundreds of mosquitoes that can carry a variety of viruses.

A box of mosquitoes in the lab used for research hold the types of insects that can carry the Zika virus which is now a global emergency.

Here in Louisiana, Wesson says the coast is clear, for now.

"We know that only about 20% of the people infected will show any symptoms and usually those that get it don't get very sick," Wesson said. "It's a mild type of infection."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says for now the virus is limited mostly to South America.

Wesson says here in New Orleans, two types of Aedes mosquitoes common to the area have the ability to carry the virus.

She also added that it takes a mosquito to transmit the virus, but new information is coming in.

"There is at least one report of the the virus being transmitted sexually," Wesson said. "That's not too common. For the most part is from a mosquito bite from person to person."

For now the threat is low. Experts say you're more likely to catch West Nile or even Malaria before Zika.

Also, the mosquito that carries the virus doesn't like the current winter conditions.

"Zika is actually lower than West Nile," Wesson said. "It is a different category but because of the birth defects and potential problems that have shown up, that could change."

You can see a list The City of New Orleans issued these tips on at-home mosquito control everyone can take by clicking here.

 

 


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