In a proactive public health move, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa has announced that Parish officials have partnered with officials from Tulane University in New Orleans to search for signs of Aedes aegypti - the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

“All the rain we have had recently has increased the mosquito breeding grounds in the parish. With the current concerns about the possible spread of the Zika virus, not to mention West Nile virus, I am really pleased to partner with Tulane for this mosquito survey,” Matassa said.

Ascension Parish Director of Mosquito Control David Matassa accompanied Dr. Dawn Wesson, PhD, a medical entomologist and vector biologist with the Tulane Department of Tropical Medicine, and her team, to several sites throughout Ascension Parish, where they collected live mosquitoes for later testing and typing.

According to David Matassa, if any Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are found, the area will be treated, including all water outlets up to a quarter of a mile away.

No cases of Zika virus have been reported in Ascension Parish.

To prevent mosquito bites you should:

1. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and spray clothes with insect repellent. 

2. Stay in places with air conditioning, and with window and door screens to keep mosquitos outside.

3. Remove standing water to keep mosquitos from laying eggs inside and outside the home. Once a week, empty and scrub vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans, and rain barrels.

4. Wear insect repellent containing DEET. Products containing DEET include OFF!, Skintastic, and Cutter. If you are also using sunscreen apply sunscreen first and insect repellant second.

5. Use mosquito netting to cover babies younger than two months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.

6. Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened-in rooms are not available, or if sleeping outdoors.

7. Zika can be transmitted sexually by an infected male. To prevent sexual transmission of Zika, use a condom.