Local 10 News photojournalist denied Zika testing at hospital
Brian Ely says he was turned away at Broward Health Medical Center
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Despite all of the warnings from health authorities about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, unless someone is a pregnant woman, he or she might have a hard time finding someone to test them for Zika, even if they are exhibiting symptoms.
"I had a fever of around 100 degrees, had some muscle aches and some headaches also," Local 10 News photojournalist Brian Ely said.
Ely also had what appeared to be pink eye in the days following his return from Hurricane Matthew coverage in Cuba.
"The symptoms that I'm showing are consistent with Zika," Ely said.
Ely tried to get tested for the virus, but his doctor was unavailable for several weeks, so he called the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.
"But they told me that they only test pregnant women," Ely said.
Ely then went to Broward Health Medical Center's emergency room.
"The woman came out and told that it was the hospital policy not to write a Zika test for anything except for pregnant women," Ely said.
Broward Health spokeswoman Daniella Aird would not comment about Ely's visit because of HIPPA regulations, but said, "With regard to our policy on Zika testing, Broward Health strictly adheres to the guidelines put forth by the Florida Department of Health."
Local 10 News contacted the Florida Department of Health, which issued the following statement:
"Free Zika testing is available to pregnant women and anyone who meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing criteria. According to CDC, any person who is experiencing one of the four key symptoms of Zika (red eyes, fever, joint pain and rash) and has a travel history to a Zika-affected area should be tested."
Brittany Estok is a physician assistant with Miami Urgent Care. She said many new patients are coming in frustrated, saying that they can't get tested.
"They've been frustrated, yeah, because they've not been able to get the testing done elsewhere, or they are frustrated (that) their insurance is not covering it," Estok said.
Ely finally found an urgent care that would order a test. However, his results aren't back yet.
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