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San Antonio Hospital Hosts Zika Virus Conference

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Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is offering a free informational conference on the Zika virus for lay persons as well as experts in the field.

Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Luis Castagnini, says the San Antonio hospital has formed a Zika task force which combines specialties in neonatology, neurology, maternal-fetal medicine, genetics and emergency.

“Our goal is to streamline testing for suspected cases, educate the public, educate patients and also obtain data on patients that are potentially infected patients with Zika so we can document and maybe even publish the information that we obtain,” he said.

The most frequent questions Castagnini hears from women and concerned parents include: “For example, ‘I just returned from Puerto Rico and I just found out I’m pregnant. Am I at risk?’ Those are the questions.

“The short answer is ‘Yes, you’re at risk and do you have any symptoms?’ and we can test for the virus.”

And Dr. Castagnini says if they have the virus, it’s not treatable. “It is not treatable, that is correct,” Castagnini said.

The conference will offer information about the testing methods for Zika, recommendations for women of child-bearing age, and projections for potential Zika outbreaks in the U.S. It will feature four panelists speaking on Zika subjects from tropical incidence of the virus to the recommended approaches for testing and prevention among pregnant women in South Texas.

The conference is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Children’s Hospital, on a first-come, first-served basis. The conference also will be streamed live on CHoSA's Facebook page.