According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are currently over 2,500 cases of Zika virus reported in the U.S. at this time. Zika virus is in all states but Alaska and Wyoming. Florida is the only state that currently has locally acquired cases from mosquitoes totaling 29. Of the others, 22 cases have been linked to sexual transmission of which seven have developed Guillian-Barre syndrome.
Zika is of greatest concern for pregnant women and women who may become pregnant while infected. This is because Zika can cause birth defects in babies born to women who are infected during pregnancy.
For everyone else, Zika rarely causes serious disease. Many people with Zika won’t have symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they are usually mild. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Key staff and physicians at Pomerene Hospital have been educated on the Zika virus, signs and symptoms, and treatment. Through collaborative efforts with the Ohio Department of Health, the hospital has identified the necessary lab specimens to obtain should a patient present to Pomerene with a suspected case of Zika. Staff has been informed on how to process these laboratory specimens and submit to the Ohio Department of Health.
All patients who present to Pomerene’s Emergency Department are screened for signs and symptoms of the Zika virus through our triage process. We are also screening for Zika on all pregnant woman in OB during our admission interview process. Any suspected cases of Zika will be reported to the Ohio Department of Health.
Patients with a confirmed case of Zika would not require isolation as the disease is only communicable through mosquito bite, or sexual transmission. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends standard precautions for patients with a Zika infection.
“We at Pomerene Hospital are aware of the extent of the Zika virus infection and are in close coordination with the Ohio State Health Department in
regard to the spread of this virus. We are also monitoring the CDC recommendations,” stated Yasser Omran, M.D., Pomerene Hospital Medical Director
and Internal Medicine physician.
“We encourage the public in general to be careful with mosquito bite exposures since they have the potential to cause serious infections such as encephalitis as well as Zika virus infections. Our infection control committee continues to update the medical staff of any reported cases and news pertinent to such infections.”
More information may be obtained by using the CDC’s Zika website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.
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