State officials monitoring Zika mosquitoes amid historic flood

Flooding in Denham Springs courtesy GOHSEP Facebook page

Flooding in Denham Springs courtesy GOHSEP Facebook page

LAFAYETTE, La. (WGNO) – Gov. John Bel Edwards warned Louisianans today that the historic flood of South Louisiana could put residents at an increased risk for the Zika virus.

“We’re going to have standing water all over south Louisiana,” Edwards said during a press conference in Lafayette.  “We’re going to have more than our share of mosquitoes. With the Zika threat, we need assistance to spray for mosquitoes and for mosquito control and abatement.”

So far, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes are the only four parishes to have been declared federal disaster areas, but Edwards said additional parishes will be added to the list as further damage assessments are conducted.

The governor says anyone who has been impacted by this storm should register damages sustained, even if they do not live in these four initial parishes.

Louisiana has not had any locally contracted cases of Zika, only travel-related.

Ben Beard with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told USA Today that Zika-carrying mosquitos are smaller and will likely be washed away by the floods, but if officials do see an increase in Zika mosquitoes, there will be a massive response to decrease those populations.