SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Drug and Food Administration has approved a new diagnostic test to help detect the Zika virus.
The test was approved a few weeks ago. It’s designed to identify antibodies produced by the body’s immune system when it tests for the Zika virus infection in the blood.
According to the FDA, the diagnostic test is for use only in patients with clinical signs and Zika virus symptoms.
Symptoms can include muscle aches, fever, and joint pain.
Dr. Stephen Ramirez, with Stone Oak Family Practice, said the test will make a huge difference in the long run for patients.
“We finally have an FDA approved test for what we call the IGM Molecule or antibody for Zika. We are going to know a bit sooner and we can treat it a little bit sooner too. We didn't have that before. When the second case (was) here in San Antonio a few years ago, I had to send my case to the CDC and it look me at least 2 months to find out if my patient had zika,” said Dr. Ramirez.
So far, no Zika virus cases have been reported in Texas this summer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
However, cases have been reported in Florida, California, and Utah.
Dr. Ramirez said it's important to be cautious, especially pregnant women and anyone traveling to Central and South America where the virus is endemic.
“We have that mosquito endemic here in Texas so we have the possibility of getting Zika (in Texas.) The second reason (is) Texans go to places that are infected with Zika. The CDC has just recommended cautionary tales for people going to Haiti, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, and Thailand,” added Ramirez.
It’s important to protect oneself during mosquito season. Here are a few tips:
For more information about the Zika virus, click HERE.