Preparing for the arrival of Zika Virus
On January 25, The World Health Organization announced that the Zika virus had spread to several Latin American countries threatening the entire Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Canada and Chile. As of today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 661 cases of the disease in the US Territories.
Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. The fever caused by the virus is not life-threatening but has been linked to children’s microcephaly in cases where mothers contract the disease during pregnancy. The virus is not well understood, and there is no effective treatment or vaccine.
“More than 500 million people may suffer from the Zika virus in America, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg” – said Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, the Zika Incident Manager for the Pan American Health Organization taking part in a press conference on May 3.
Given the implications of this outbreak, it’s crucial to know how to report symptoms of the virus to the Department of Public Health.
How do I report symptoms?
If you’ve been sick and suspect that you’ve been exposed to the virus, you must clearly define and report the times and locations visited during your recent travel – it will help to establish the likelihood that you’ve become a carrier of the Zika virus, and help your doctor to calculate the duration of the incubation period (usually it lasts for two weeks).
Because no effective treatment exists for the virus, your doctor will tell you the general recommendations that should be followed to minimize the effects of the disease.
After visiting a doctor, you will need to fill out a Zika Virus Report Form to report your symptoms to Department of Public Health. A patient can fill out this form by themselves, or ask a doctor to do it for them. Doctors are also obliged to report cases of the virus affecting their patients.
What is the Zika Virus Report Form for?
The Virus Report form provides the patient’s personal information (including sex, race, pregnancy status, etc.), information on a recent stay in a Zika affected area, your healthcare provider’s name and address, and a list of symptoms.
Having considered the report, the Department of Public Health will decide whether the patient should have additional testing to identify whether they are indeed a carrier of the virus.
Where do I send the Zika Virus Report Form?
Once completed, the Virus Report Form should be directed to the following address:
410 Capitol Avenue, MS#11FDS P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134-0308.