Long Island Prepares for Zika

Since the middle of March, nearly 480 cases of travel related Zika virus cases have been reported in the US. This is a huge increase from last month when that number was just 100. Some travelers returning from Zika affected areas are bringing the virus back with them.

This Zika Virus Podcast provides more information on the disease and it’s origion.

All over the United States, precautionary measures being taken to deal with Zika. Early this year a Zika virus testing station was set up at the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow Long Island.

The hospital staff warns of symptoms associated with the Zika virus that should not be taken lightly for those returning from areas such as South American and the Caribbean. Symptoms include a fever, chills, headache and/or muscle aches. Symptoms including pink eye, vomiting and skin rash are also seen in those affected with Zika virus. If you or anyone you know has been traveling to Zika affected areas and is experiencing any of these symptoms they should make their way to the emergency department to be properly evaluated and treated.

With confirmed cases of Zika coming from Long Island it comes at no surprise. Nassau county has one of the biggest Latin populations on the northeast. Many residents frequent Zika affected areas, therefore local testing in this area is essential and testing stations are available. The testing stations at Nassau University Medical Center offer free blood and urine tests are sent to one of three Zika testing labs in the US located in Albany.

If a person tests positive for Zika they are advised to avoid sexual contact for at least four weeks and are advised to avoid getting pregnant for at least four weeks. Zika virus can spread to the pregnant woman’s fetus and cause a birth defect know as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a neurological condition which causes a baby to be born with a small head and brain. It’s also associated with severe developmental issues and can cause death. Pregnant women that test positive for the virus will receive obstetric counseling at the Nassau hospital.

Walk-ins at the Nassau hospital or its satellite health center are currently available for those with symptoms that have traveled to Zika affected areas. Test results are quick and will only take two to three days.