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Kendra Marcinowski, ARNP, provides Zika advice

"Florida now offering free Zika test kits for pregnant women"
By Erin Lisch
Associated Press
August 3, 2016

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott says pregnant women statewide can get a free Zika test to determine whether they've been infected with the mosquito-borne virus.

Scott directed state health officials Wednesday to make the tests available at county health departments and also said the state would provide additional lab services to handle the expected increase to ensure test results are processed quickly.

Health officials last Friday announced that mosquitoes have apparently started spreading Zika on the U.S. mainland, with a total now of 15 cases they strongly believe were caused by bites. In an unprecedented warning, federal health officials directed pregnant women to avoid a Zika-stricken part of Miami.

Wednesday's announcement comes as some doctors have complained they were being forced to ration test kits and turn away pregnant women who were requesting them.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The highest Zika threat remains among pregnant women.

Only 500 miles away from Miami, where travel warnings are underway for the Zika outbreak, expectant mothers in Tallahassee tell us if they'd head south.

8 months pregnant with her first child, Jasmine Minor said, "I’m not personally afraid of it, but I do try to stay indoors."

9 months pregnant, Pricilla Zanon,i said, "I would not go down there, I would not put my baby at risk."

Risks include possible birth defects -- Zika is linked to microcephaly in babies, which causes their heads to form much smaller than expected.

”I hear about the stories of the women and their baby's coming out with problems," said Zanoni.

To avoid these problems, North Florida Women's Care says don't go to the Miami area if you're pregnant, and use condoms if your partner does go to these affected areas.

North Florida Women's Care Nurse Practitioner Kendra Marcinowski said, "If her partner has traveled or is exposed then it can be transmitted sexually, so that's a big concern as well."

Bug spray is another big way to prevent mosquito bites.

"DEET is safe during pregnancy, so I definitely recommend that, long pants, long shirts, trying to avoid mosquitoes in general because they do carry other diseases as well," said Marcinowski.

The CDC suggests women check for Zika during every prenatal visit.

"I'm scared and excited at the same time, you know because of everything that's going on," said Zanoni.

Following safety precautions, for a healthy and happy baby.

Marcinowski also says it's still unclear if there's any part of the woman's gestational period where Zika would not affect the pregnancy.

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