JU nursing students raise awareness as more Zika cases reported

Company offers $99 test for virus at 5 North Florida clinics

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Department of Health announced five new travel-related cases of the Zika virus on Wednesday, including two in Broward County and one each in Miami-Dade, Hillsborough and Polk counties.

Earlier this week, a new travel-related case was announced in Nassau County, keeping people alert when it comes to protecting their families.

Jacksonville University hosted an effort Wednesday to spread awareness about the virus, and a company that's helping people get tested if they're concerned.

MORE INFO: Florida Health Department website | CDC website | Governor's website

Nursing students at JU hosted an information table in their Student Center on Wednesday after researching the Zika virus for several weeks. They passed out brochures with info on Zika, along with bug bracelets that can help protect the wearer from mosquitoes. They answered questions from fellow students, wanting to make sure that their peers are informed and prepared.

“It's becoming more and more prevalent here in the states,” JU senior Keith Whaley said. “It's something we want to raise awareness about before it's really here so we're trying to do prevention.”

Whaley and fellow JU senior nursing students teaching their peers about the Zika virus researched the project for weeks.

“We are a mosquito breeding ground to say the least,” Whaley said. “We have standing water. We do have that humid climate, the hot temperatures, things that definitely attract mosquitoes.”

The Department of Health wants pregnant women to know that they can get free testing within their county.

Those who aren't pregnant but have concerns about Zika also have options, like Vista Clinical Diagnostics, which has five locations in North Florida that now offer the test.

“Vista Clinical started offering the test about two weeks ago,” spokeswoman Tiffani Hogan said. “It costs $99, and you can have the results in six hours if you want to.”

Hogan said patients have loved the company's price and how quickly the test results come back. She said the process is simple.

“When they come here, they can have a doctor's order or they can just request the test themselves, and I bring them back and that's it,” Hogan said. “They pay, and they go.”

The city of Jacksonville is always reminding people to dump any standing water they see around their homes. A mosquito can breed in as little as a teaspoon of water.

Health experts remind Floridians that the virus can also be transmitted sexually and to speak with a doctor before having sex, if they think they could have the virus.

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