Zika Virus: Updates and Information
Baptist Health and our affiliated physicians and practitioners 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 Disease 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:
Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
Other symptoms include:
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. Results are usually available within 2-4 weeks.
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.
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 since August 1, 2016, should be tested for Zika virus; and pregnant women who have lived in, traveled to, or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to the 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach with active spread of Zika virus since July 14, 2016, should be tested for Zika virus.