Houston hospitals introduce first rapid tests for Zika

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HOUSTON-- A breakthrough in the battle against Zika comes straight from H-town's Medcial Center. The dreaded virus is linked to birth defects in kids and, more recently, paralysis in some adults. Finally, doctors right here in Houston have made the first strides toward getting rid of it. At the Texas Children's and Methodist Hospitals, they have come up with the first rapid tests for Zika.

They can take a blood sample, urine, amniotic fluid or spinal fluid-- yikes!-- and find out if you have Zika the same day. It used to be you had to send samples to the CDC and wait a month to hear back.

As of now, you have to be a patient of one of these hospitals to get tested. But if you are not, the Houston Health Department is about to start offering similar tests. "Starting next week, we'll be able to provide viral testing for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika all in one test," Kathy Barton, chief of public affairs with the Houston Health Department said Tuesday, "and this is important because the Aedes mosquito, which is what is transmitting Zika, also transmits Dengue and Chikkungunya."

So is a cure for Zika far off? "We don't really think about cures for viral diseases," Barton explains, "At this point what we're looking at is a vaccine for prevention.... If we do get to the point where we have local transmission, this will be very important for our patients."

Hear that, Zika? Houston's got you in our sights, so it might be time to buzz off! Your reign of terror could be coming to an end... and not a moment too soon!


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