Michiana health care providers talk local Zika virus concerns

Now that the Zika virus has been labeled a global public emergency Michiana health care providers are on alert.
A map found on the Center for Disease Control’s website highlights where the virus has been found.

This information is crucial for both national and local hospitals like South Bend Memorial.

“By sharing a health alert now we can make sure the health care providers are aware that a patient reports travel history from any of these areas to consider Zika a potential diagnosis,” says Kelly Jolliff, Infection Control Coordinator for South Bend Memorial. 

There have not been any reports of Zika in our area and Doctor Edward Durbin, an obstetrician at South Bend Memorial says contracting Zika from a mosquito in Michiana is very unlikely.

“Just because the most common mosquito doesn’t live in this area doesn’t handle the winters,” says Doctor Durbin. 
The pesky insect is not the only culprit. There are other ways to contract the virus. 

On Tuesday, the CDC announced the Zika virus has been sexually transmitted in Texas.

“The risk for acquiring Zika virus from another person is still associated with that travel history. So safe sex is what is recommended if you have that travel history,” says Jolliff. 
Doctor Durbin says a list of 28 countries is especially concerning for pregnant women.
“The big concern right now is that cases of microcepahly,” says Durbin. 
He adds although it still has not been proven that Zika causes the birth defect, doctors will still be on alert.

“We try to with our initial visit find out if they have traveled are there other risk factors associated with and hopefully doctors will be paying more attention to that here in the near future,” says Durbin. 

If traveling, you should be vigilant also.

“The biggest thing is using the mosquito repellant they are safe to use long sleeve these are mosquitoes that bite during the day time,” says Durbin. 

Some common symptoms of the Zika virus include achiness, headaches and a rash.
Doctors say of course you should get those symptoms checked.

If you or your partner have not traveled it is most likely not the Zika virus.

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