U.S. health care system ready for Zika outbreak?

2 min read

After finding that he would not be able to get a test for the Zika virus in a timely manner at his well-resourced Boston hospital, Michael VanRooyen doubts that the U.S. health care system is ready to contain an outbreak of the disease. Van Rooyen—who is not ill, but wanted to test how easy it would be to obtain a test and diagnosis—is head of the emergency medicine department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and a professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He spoke at a February 17, 2016 panel at Harvard Kennedy School.

“I was informed that I first had to make an appointment with the [Obstetrics] department first, as they are the ones who actually have to order it. Then I had to sit down with a counselor to discuss it, as well as send a urine sample to a reference lab to get tested, which would take about three-and-a-half weeks to get back to me,” VanRooyen said, as quoted in a Harvard Crimson article. “So by the time I got the appointment, I got the test, it was going to be about a month-and-a-half before I would find out.”