Harper's Bazaar Senior Digital Editor Recounts Being Diagnosed With Zika After Caribbean Vacation

Chrissy Rutherford shows the rash on her face that initially sparked her fears of having contracted the Zika virus.
ABC News screenshot

Chrissy Rutherford, who lives in New York City and is the senior digital editor at Harper's Bazaar, first realized something was seriously wrong when she tried to take a selfie on the train while on her way to a wedding.

The skin on her face was beginning to break out with an odd rash. This was some three days after she experienced other strange systems since returning home from a vacation in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica.


"I started to Google my symptoms on the train, and the word 'Zika' stared back at me, along with all my [ailments]: joint pain, muscle pain and a rash. Obviously I was convinced I had it—despite not having every symptom listed," Rutherford wrote in Harper's Bazaar.

She had brushed off her initial symptoms, thinking one thing or another, but the rash sealed the deal.

After she became violently sick following that night, two doctor trips and a urine test confirmed her worst fears. She had indeed contracted the virus that has been pushed into the national forefront.

"It was interesting how little people knew about the virus. Most people's immediate question was, 'Are you going to be OK?' As if I had just told them I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease. 'That will clear up with a round of antibiotics, right?' asked one of my co-workers. Nope, it's not bacterial. There's nothing that can be prescribed for the virus. I also had countless friends who tried to persuade me that doctors are often wrong, and suggest other illnesses I could potentially have," Rutherford wrote. "But at that point it didn't really make a difference to me if it was Zika or something else—the virus had already taken control over my body. Even two weeks after the first sign of my symptoms, I learned that a married couple was too afraid to attend a function I was invited to, even though the virus isn't contagious and only spreads by insect bites or by having unprotected sex."


It's now been weeks since Rutherford started feeling symptoms, but aside from lethargy, she said she is beginning to feel like herself again and has started sharing her story so that people can be more aware.


Read Rutherford's full account at Harper’s Bazaar.

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