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Friday, February 12, 2016

Constant rejection trying to get Zika virus test


I first called the New York State Department of Health's Zika information hotline. The woman who answered the phone patiently took down my information, listened to my symptoms and encouraged me to call my doctor and get blood and urine tests. She actually said it sounded more like I had malaria than Zika, but I should get tested for both: If I did have Zika, they could learn more about the onset of the virus and the symptoms.

'Can't you just take a blood sample?'

So, I called my primary care physician. When I told the receptionist my story, she said my doctor was with his last patient of the day and that I should call back in the morning. Seriously? Yes.

I hung up, then called back and asked the doctor to return my call. When he did, he said he had no idea how to handle it and that I should call the infectious disease division of Northwell Health on Long Island to get tested.

The woman on the phone there said that if I don't regularly go to their office, I couldn't get tested there. Her suggestion? Go to the nearest ER for the tests. That seemed to be an over-the-top, way too costly way to go about getting just a blood and urine test.

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