Expert Says Fears Of Zika Spreading In Flooding Not A Major Concern

Aug 17, 2016

With all the floodwater in Louisiana, some may be worrying about whether the extremely wet conditions could attract mosquitos carrying the Zika virus. A leading expert says that’s not a main concern.

Dawn Wesson is an associate professor of tropical medicine at Tulane University.

“We have no evidence that Zika is present in the area. And the mosquitos that transmit West Nile Virus are much more likely to be helped by the flooding than are those that transmit Zika virus," she said.

She says the mosquitos that carry the Zika virus – which is linked to birth defects – are mostly in the New Orleans region – and they don’t travel far.

Wesson says she’s much more concerned about West Nile, which has been tracked in the areas now flooded.

“The biggest concern after Katrina – the biggest problem we found --- was that we saw about a two-fold increase in West Nile Virus infections – severe disease infections – in the areas that were most impacted by Katrina as compared to those that were not impacted by Katrina. And we think it was probably due to exposure," she said.

Wesson advises people now cleaning out and repairing their property to wear lots of bug repellent.