Zika virus on minds of local health officials - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Zika virus on minds of local health officials

Posted: Updated:

If you have recently returned from an area affected by a Zika virus outbreak, you might not know if you have it yet. It can take up to a week for symptoms to appear.

Bev Fulbright, an epidemiology nurse at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, describes the symptoms.

"Only 1 in 5 people who have the virus will ever show symptoms. But those symptoms are typically fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes or conjunctivitis," says Fulbright.

If you think you have Zika, see your doctor immediately.

"There's no specific treatment for the symptoms of the Zika virus," adds Fulbright. "It's just supportive care."

Taking medications to relieve the pain and fever, drinking plenty of water, and getting extra sleep are part of that.

The health department does not take many steps beyond normal protocol, but if a local doctor suspects a case of the Zika virus the patient would go there next.

"We would help facilitate testing of the patient and try to work with the doctor if he had any questions or concerns we could help with," says Fulbright.

The testing requires a trip to the CDC in Atlanta.

Fulbright says anyone can become infected, but pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant should be most concerned. They shouldn't travel to countries where outbreaks have occurred.

 "It's been associated with poor birth outcomes if pregnant women get the virus," says Fulbright.

One case has been confirmed in Georgia with more in other states. Because the virus is spread by mosquitoes, Fulbright says don't panic. Just be careful, especially if you've become infected.

"They can transmit the virus to mosquitoes that then pass the virus on to someone else."

For more information, visit this link and click on the Zika Virus map.

Powered by Frankly