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Zika Virus: Updates and Information

Zika Virus: Updates and Information

Baptist Health and our affiliated physicians and pr​actitioners are working closely with the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that our patients, physicians, healthcare providers and the community have the latest information regarding the Zika virus. On this page you’ll find information about the virus, including where to go for the latest criteria for testing. This page will be updated as new information arises.

The Zika virus, which is spread mostly by mosquitoes, is of most concern to pregnant mothers or those thinking of becoming pregnant. The virus is associated with severe birth defects including microcephaly, a disease of the brain in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. 

For healthy individuals who are not pregnant, the virus is usually mild. According to the CDC, people usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital and severe cases are very rare.


Information from the Centers for Dise​ase Control and Prevention

Diagnosis of Zika is based on a person’s recent travel history, symptoms and test results. Many people infected with the Zika virus won’t have symptoms, or will have only mild symptoms.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

    Patients who have symptoms of the Zika virus and who could have been exposed to the virus should speak with their healthcare providers about testing and follow-up care. There is no treatment for the virus, and many symptoms can be managed at home under the care of a physician. If you are exhibiting symptoms of the Zika virus, please contact your healthcare provider. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, but are not exhibiting symptoms of the Zika virus, you are encouraged to talk with your physician about risks and potential ongoing testing.


    A blood and/or urine test can confirm Zika infection. Samples collected at Baptist Health facilities will be sent to the Florida Department of Health for testing. 

    In order to be tested for the Zika virus at a Baptist Health South Florida facility, all patients must have a prescription from a physician as well as a completed provider questionnaire and  Florida Department of Health laboratory form.

    Additionally, patients who are not pregnant are required to have pre-approval from the Florida Department of Health in order to be tested for Zika at a Baptist Health South Florida facility.  Please remember to bring the pre-approval letter (provided by your physician) as well as the prescription and necessary forms to your test.  For testing criteria and guidelines, please check with the Florida Department of Health​.

    The CDC recommends that pregnant women who have lived in, traveled to, or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to Miami-Dade County between August 1, 2016, and eight weeks after June 2, 2017, and who conceived up to 8 weeks after June 2, 2017, should be tested for Zika virus.

    Testing Sites at Baptist Health

    The following sites provide Zika testing through the Florida Department of Health for patients who are pregnant and have a physician’s prescription and the completed required forms from the health department; or for patients who are not pregnant but are symptomatic and have a physician’s prescription and pre-approval from the health department. Appointments are not necessary for Zika testing; however, they are recommended.

    Outpatient Laboratories:

    Outpatient Laboratory at Baptist Hospital
    8900 North Kendall Drive
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

    Outpatient Laboratory at Doctors Hospital
    5000 University Drive
    Coral Gables
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

    Outpatient Laboratory at Homestead Hospital
    975 Baptist Way
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-12 noon

    Outpatient Laboratory at Mariners Hospital
    91500 Overseas Highway
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Outpatient Laboratory at South Miami Hospital
    6200 SW 73 Street
    South Miami
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-12 noon 

    Outpatient Laboratory at West Kendall Baptist Hospital
    9555 SW 162 Avenue
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and
    Sunday, 8 a.m.-12 noon

    Zika testing for pregnant patients who have a physician’s prescription and completed required forms from the health department is also available at the diagnostic imaging centers located within the following Baptist Health Medical Plazas:

    ​Brickell | Baptist Health Medical Plaza 
    2660 Brickell Avenue
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Coral Springs | Baptist Health Medical Plaza
    6264 W. Sample Road, Suite 100
    Coral Springs
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Country Walk | Baptist Health Medical Plaza
    13500 SW 152 Street
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Davie | Baptist Health Medical Plaza
    4741 S. University Drive
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Pembroke Pines | Baptist Health Medical Plaza
    15885 Pines Bouleva​rd
    Pembroke Pines
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

    Outpatient Laboratory at Baptist Outpatient Center
    8950 N. Kendall Drive, Second Floor
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

    For additional information, call 786-573-6000 (Miami-Dade) or 954-837-1000 (Broward).

    Testing is also offered at private laboratories in the area. Patients considering that option should check with the laboratory and with your insurance provider to verify coverage and approval. 

    The Florida Department of Health is providing Zika virus risk assessments and testing to pregnant women at county health departments across the state. For additional information, visit www.floridahealth.gov​ or call 850-245-4444.


    Find a doctor affiliated with Baptist Health. You also can call our physician referral phone line: 786-596-6557.


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pregnancy Hotline: 770-488-7100
  • Florida Department of Health
  • Baptist Health South Florida News Network
  • MotherToBaby​: 866-626-6847

  • Prevention

    There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites and can also be sexually transmitted. The CDC recommends taking steps to avoid mosquito bites and also using barrier methods of protection, such as condoms to reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. Learn more about the CDC's recommendations for prevention.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Information provided from the Florida Department of Health

  • What is Zika virus?
  • How is Zika virus transmitted?
  • Who is at risk of being infected?
  • What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
  • How soon do infected people get sick?
  • How is Zika virus treated?
  • What can I do to prevent Zika virus infection?
  • What should I do if I think I have the Zika virus?
  • Should I travel to a country where cases of Zika have been reported?​

  • What is Zika virus?

    Zika virus is a mild febrile (fever) illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection. It has been identified in several countries in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean since 2015. Outbreaks have previously been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Cases of Zika virus have been reported in travelers returning to the United States. Local transmission also has occurred in Puerto Rico and Miami.

    How is Zika virus transmitted?
    Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, including the same mosquitoes that can transmit yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. It is unknown how often this occurs or what stage of pregnancy is most at risk. There are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. In addition, Zika virus can be present in semen and transmitted through sexual activity. Zika also can be transmitted by blood. The blood supply in South Florida is now screened to assure it is free of Zika.

    Who is at risk of being infected?
    Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected with Zika virus is at risk for infection, including pregnant women.

    What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
    Only about one in five people infected with Zika virus develop symptoms. Zika fever is a mild illness. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Signs and symptoms of Zika virus may include: acute onset of low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (reddening of eye), body aches, headache, eye pain and vomiting.

    Concerning outcomes: The Ministry of Health of Brazil has reported an increase in the number of newborns with microcephaly, as well as other poor pregnancy outcomes in areas experiencing Zika virus outbreaks. Microcephaly carries with it the association with developmental delay, intellectual disability and other significant neurologic disease. Additional studies are needed to further characterize the relationship between Zika virus and poor pregnancy outcomes. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. There are other causes of microcephaly in babies, including genetic abnormalities, environmental factors and some infections acquired during pregnancy.

    How soon do infected people get sick?
    People typically develop symptoms between two and 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito.

    How is Zika virus treated?
    Since there is no specific treatment against the virus, treat the symptoms by getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration and taking medicines to relieve fever and pain. Illness typically resolves within a week. Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs if you have symptoms until dengue can be excluded, to reduce the risk of potentially serious internal bleeding (hemorrhage).

    What can I do to prevent Zika virus infection?
    The best way to avoid Zika virus is to prevent mosquito bites. The best preventive measures are to drain standing water to prevent mosquito breeding around your home or business; cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes outside of homes; and cover skin with clothing or mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites.

    DRAIN standing water:

  • Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

  • COVER your skin with:

  • CLOTHING – If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear comfortable shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
  • REPELLENT – Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. Permethrin repellent can also be applied to clothing (but not skin). It is safe for pregnant or nursing women to use EPA-approved repellents if applied according to package label instructions.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old. Sleep under a mosquito bed net when outside or in a room that is not screened.

  • COVER doors and windows with screens:

  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair damaged screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.
  • If traveling, choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.

  • What should I do if I think I have the Zika virus?
    Contact your healthcare provider if you think you or a family member might be ill due to Zika virus infection. Travelers returning home from areas with active Zika virus transmission should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes for three weeks following travel, especially while ill, to prevent infection of local mosquitoes. Women who were traveling in areas where Zika virus was active during their pregnancy should consult their obstetrician.
    Last Updated: June 6, 2017

    Should I travel to a country or area where cases of Zika have been reported?
    CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are likely to change over time, please visit CDC.gov for more information on current travel notices and an updated list of countries with Zika virus transmission. Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

  • Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
  • Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.
  • If the male partner of a pregnant woman lives in or travels to an area with active Zika virus transmission, the couple should abstain from sex or use condoms every time they have vaginal, anal and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

  • Information for people living or traveling to Miami-Dade County​

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