Zika patient's advice: Educate yourself

Kimberly Kuizon reports

- For Kimberly Martinez and her family, an 11-day vacation to Tortola in the Virgin Islands was an "amazing" break from reality.  Her tropical paradise also came with mosquitos, and -- towards the end of her stay -- an illness.

"I noticed a bunch of bizarre symptoms. Had some sore muscle pain in my neck, had a low-grade fever, really didn't feel like myself," she recalled.

She started feeling even worse on the plane ride back to Sarasota.

"I started to notice a kind of rash that showed up on my body. A lot like prickly heat, but it kind of began to spread everywhere and covered me," she continued.

When Martinez got home, she Googled her symptoms.  Zika popped right up as a possibility.

"I was really able to check a lot of the boxes that my systems aligned with those who might have had the Zika virus," she said.

After that, she made a beeline to the doctor's office, worried she could be a danger to others.

"I know that there was nothing that was really going to impact me, but making sure I was making all the right choices to minimize my risk to anybody else was a little scary," she said.

A few days later, test results came back, confirming her diagnosis.  She brought home a case of travel-related Zika.

Her symptoms went away within a few days, but the virus can linger in the blood for weeks.  To keep mosquitos from spreading it to others, she constantly wears repellent, whether she's inside or out.

She wants others to take the symptoms seriously.

"I think the most important thing we are doing right now is to educate our community around what we need to do to minimize the impact and the spread," she added.  "That is the one thing we can do and the one thing we can control."

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