Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday (February 4th) directed the New York State Department of Health to expand the free Zika virus testing program for all pregnant women who have traveled to areas where the infection is ongoing, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms.
Additionally, the Department of Health has issued a health advisory to local health departments, health care providers and hospitals to further coordinate Zika response efforts in New York State.
These actions follow Monday’s announcement of free-testing for symptomatic individuals and an information line (1-888-364-4723) for the public and healthcare providers to learn more about the virus.
There have now been 11 positive cases of Zika virus infection among New York State residents. All of the infected patients are returning travelers from countries where Zika virus is ongoing.
Because the symptoms of Zika virus infection are usually very mild, many people might not even realize they have been infected and typically recover without any issues. However, there have been reports of increased cases of a birth defect known as microcephaly that may be associated with Zika virus infection among pregnant women.
Women who are pregnant and have traveled to a country where Zika is ongoing and their healthcare providers can learn how to access testing and gain additional information by calling the DOH information at: 1-888-364-4723. Additional information on Zika is available here on the DOH website.