Zika patient speaks out, calls testing stressful

Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 04:10:01-04

Boca Raton Regional Hospital confirms one of its patients has tested positive for the Zika virus.

The woman says she was told by the Health Department that she is the third travel-related case in Palm Beach County.

SPECIAL SECTION: More Zika coverage

"It's been like a rollercoaster," said the patient, who wants to remain anonymous.

It started with bad news from her family in Colombia.

"My grandfather passing away, I felt strongly that I needed to go," she said.

She knew the risks of traveling with a mosquito-borne virus outbreak in her hometown.

"I thought I was prepared. I took a lot of different mosquito repellant," she said.

She says the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were all around. She says the locals used electric rackets to swat them away. When she got back to Florida she says she started feeling sick.

"By the time I got home I was already having fever, chills and not feeling well," said the woman.

That was last Monday. She started getting a rash that eventually spread to most of her body. Then her symptoms got stronger. She says she made several trips to Boca Raton Regional Hospital, but she would be discharged.
"It was very unnerving because I felt that some of the doctors at the hospital were trying to let me go telling me that i

should ride it out at home," said the patient.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital released this statement, "The hospital was following all appropriate CDC and Palm Beach County Health guidelines for the appropriate screening of the Zika and other viral diseases,"  said Charles Posternack, MD, Chief Medical Officer.

Only two health department labs in Florida are able to test for the virus. Ibana Villasenor was standing by watching her sister get worse while waiting for answers.
"It was really like I had to fend for her life. I had to find a protocol myself and called Colombia to see what they were doing themselves," said Villasenor who was frustrated with the lack of information available at the hospital.
The patient also learned from her Doctor that she may have Guillain-Barre' syndrome. It's a syndrome that attacks the nervous system. The CDC website says it's likely triggered by Zika.

The patient says she would like to see quicker results for Zika testing. We have put in a request with the State Health Department to find out the timeline for testing results.

The patient is still feeling symptoms. She was not admitted to the hospital Thursday. She is being told to check in with her Doctor and that she may be called in for further testing.