Mayor Landrieu Issues Statement About $1.1B Federal Funding To Combat Spread Of Zika Virus
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a statement on the approval of $1.1 billion in federal funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus. At this time, there are no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in New Orleans or Louisiana; however, travel-related casts of Zika virus have been identified in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana:
“The Zika virus is an extremely serious public health threat that has potential to strain local governments in the event of an outbreak,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We are thankful that the federal government has stepped up today to provide local communities with additional resources so we stay aggressive with our mosquito abatement strategies. It is important that these federal funds be put to work on the ground immediately and we will be aggressive in securing the necessary federal funding for New Orleans and our region. Right now, we are doing everything that we can to be ready through intensive mosquito control efforts and comprehensive educational outreach. But the public must continue to do its part to protect themselves and their loved ones by removing mosquito breeding sources from their properties. This has to be a unified effort from all parties involved.”
Download a factsheet on the Zika virus here
The Mosquito Control Board 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 are also used when needed.
Mosquitos breed in standing water. Residents are strongly 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.
In August 2016, the City allocated an additional $500,000 to more aggressively target the two mosquito species that are the primary carriers of Zika virus, the Yellow fever mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito. The Mosquito Control Board has an annual budget of $3.5 million, which supports the department’s overall functions of monitoring and controlling populations of mosquitoes, termites, and rodents in order to reduce rodent and insect-borne diseases.
Mayor Landrieu has also urged Congress to appropriate money to be used for local preparedness and vector control, City reps said. In May, he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in support of the Obama Administration’s request of $1.9 billion in federal emergency supplemental appropriations funding to respond the threat of the Zika virus.
View Mayor Landrieu’s testimony here
In April 2016, the City of New Orleans released a comprehensive plan to address the Zika Virus threat. The plan guides coordination among various departments and identifies preparedness and response initiatives to be taken in the city. Currently, the Mosquito Control Board and the New Orleans Health Department are coordinating with key partners to provide information about the Zika virus to the public and conduct door-to-door outreach in high-risk neighborhoods across the city, City reps said. Partner agencies include the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association.
Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito or through sexual contact with an infected person. One in five people infected may develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache and red eyes. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 14 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. Additionally because Zika Virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, infected individuals should use condoms.
The CDC recommends treating the symptoms by resting, drinking fluids and taking certain types of pain medicine.
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.
In January 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
View a list of affected countries here
Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing, City reps said. 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.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Read more information on Household Item Recycling here.