Residents must do their part against Zika

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

By now everyone in Louisiana is well accustomed to many of the tragedies that accompany too much water. For the last week we have seen, read and, in many cases, experienced the devastation that comes with flooding.

However, as the parish government pointed out on Monday, we in Louisiana could be facing another threat: Zika. The virus has so far been limited to in Louisiana to victims who have travelled to Latin America but, as we see in Florida, a victim could easily bring Zika to Louisiana and our local mosquitos could spread it from there. The virus apparently does little to healthy adults, but it can have devastating consequences for fetuses, as it is linked to microcephaly, a neurological condition resulting in smaller brain development than normal.

The state’s health department reports the two carriers of the virus, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus are “abundant across Louisiana.”

That said, individuals also must bear some responsibility to slow the arrival of the virus. Anyone who sees standing water in tires, cans or barrels should drain the water. Litter, like old tires and barrels, should be taken to the landfill for proper disposal. Homeowners or renters must trim—not just poison—the weeds and grasses in ditches near their home.

According to the CDC, the Aedes mosquito’s eggs can withstand months of desiccation, meaning a container can be dry for weeks—and the day a rain comes and fills it with water, the mosquito eggs will hatch.

Finally, the Aedes mosquito, like others, depends on blood. Wearing long-sleeve shirts in the morning and evening, when the mosquito is active, is smart although bug spray with a high amount of DEET is also a good measure. There is plenty each of us can do right now to stop its spread. We must all do our parts.