DHH: Two cases test positive for Zika virus in Louisiana

DHH: Two cases test positive for Zika virus in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) say the two samples sent from Louisiana to the CDC have tested positive for the Zika virus.

Officials with DHH will not release the location or the region where the samples came from. The information about the two cases was released on February 11, 2016.

Both cases are from individuals who recently traveled to a Caribbean country. Results from DHH lab tests performed on samples taken from the patients were positive for Zika virus, and samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing. Neither of the patients required hospitalization.

Officials with DHH say the two individuals are not sick, nor were they symptomatic when the DHH reported the cases. "Therefore, there was no risk to others becoming infected."

At this time, these two cases are the only identified cases in Louisiana, but DHH is monitoring several additional individuals who have recently traveled to the same region. None of the individuals who traveled to the country are pregnant.

"We do not believe that Zika will spread from these suspected cases," DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard said. "Local transmission of Zika by mosquitoes is very unlikely, given the weather and environmental conditions. The chances of getting Zika from a mosquito in Louisiana are very small."

Health officials say Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Ratard added that experts believe that Zika virus can be passed from an infected person to another person through mosquito bites only during the period that the viral infection is in the blood, which can last from several days to about a week.

The Department continues to work closely with the CDC, health care professionals and mosquito abatement programs throughout the state to prevent the spread of Zika. For more information about Zika virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

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