State Health Department Provides Free Testing For Possible Zika Transmission

Monday, August 8th 2016, 5:54 pm

The Zika virus continues to dominate health headlines across the country and the world.

Here in Oklahoma, officials continue to monitor mosquitoes but the state Department of Health reports the state's 17 cases are all travel-related. They haven’t detected any mosquitoes carrying the virus.

One of the first indicators that you may have Zika is if you have recently traveled to one of the areas where Zika has been identified. That now includes a part of Miami, Florida.

After a recent trip to Puerto Rico, Angel Rivera started feeling sick. 

“About a day or two after I got back, I started feeling really fatigued and I had a lot of muscle aches that I don’t usually have in my back and in my chest and a lot of pressure that wouldn’t go away,” Rivera said.

Doctors said Zika can cause fever, rash, muscle and joint aches and red eyes. Symptoms typically last several days to a week.

After a couple days, Rivera wasn't getting any better he went to the doctor.

“They said they felt like the most logical explanation is he probably had Zika,” he said.

The state Health Department is providing free testing for anyone doctors suspect has Zika and are asking health providers to contact them if they have a suspected case.

“The first three weeks of illness there is a risk. They still have the virus in their blood and they could serve as a source of the virus for local mosquitoes,” said Oklahoma state epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “That’s how you could get the infection starting to spread here locally.”

Bradley also points out Zika can be sexually-transmitted and they recommend men wait six months before trying to conceive a baby and a woman to wait two months.

“Only if there’s an infection during pregnancy that we have this severe health threat,” said Bradley.

Otherwise, Bradley said patients are like Rivera and gradually get better and are fine.