COLUMBUS, OH (WTOL) - The Ohio Department of Health has now begun testing for the Zika virus in individuals who suspect they could be infected.
The new testing allows Ohio health officials to test patients who recently traveled to one of the affected areas and lets them know whether they could be infected within 48 hours.
The Zika virus is detected through a blood sample. Prior to this local testing, patient blood samples had to be submitted directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the wait time to determine whether or not a patient had the virus could take a week or longer.
Now, the ODH can administer a test here at the local level, but the test must be administered within seven days of symptom onset.
In 80 percent of cases people infected with Zika don't have any symptoms at all. If a case is confirmed by the ODH then it is sent to the CDC for confirmation. This will significantly reduce not only the wait times for people testing for Zika, but also the vast number of cases getting sent to the CDC.
The CDC does recommend anyone who has traveled to the affected areas to get tested. Those areas include Mexico and parts of South America. Pregnant women are advised to avoid those areas altogether. There have been eight confirmed cases of the Zika virus here in Ohio so far.