BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor John Bel Edwards is urging members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation to pass federal legislation that will provide emergency funding to help Louisiana and other high-risk states prepare to fight a possible outbreak of the Zika virus. 

In a letter to the delegation, Gov. Edwards explains concerns about the major threat the virus poses to Louisiana and the need to give citizens important information immediately.

“Timing is critical,” said Gov. Edwards. “Without access to adequate dollars to support response planning in the face of local transmission of Zika, Louisiana could face a public health emergency that exceeds our response capabilities. Our goal is zero locally-transmitted cases of Zika, but reaching that goal will require additional funding for effective preventive measures.”

The Zika virus can cause severe birth defects in women who become infected during their pregnancies. It is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes albopictus or Aedes aegypti mosquito. State surveillance has determined that the Aedes albopictus mosquito is found in significant numbers in the highly populated parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and in parts of Plaquemines, St. Charles, and St. Tammany.

Significant new funding is required to launch a statewide media campaign to educate the public about the virus and prevention measures, as well as allow for enhanced surveillance, testing, and mosquito control activities.

Click here to read the governor's letter.