Testing for Zika Virus
Diagnostic testing for Zika virus infection can be accomplished using both molecular and serologic methods. Testing is available through commercial laboratories, many state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contact your state health department for more information or to facilitate lovealldat.comted Reading Time: 3 mins. Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Test Specimens – At Time of Birth. Diagnostic Tests. Page last reviewed: June 13,
Following the Zika virus outbreaks inthe number of Zika cases reported from most parts of the world declined and is now very low. Therefore, very few people need Zika testing. Testing is recommended if you have symptoms of Zika and have traveled to what is season 1 of american horror story about country with a current Zika outbreak red areas.
Note: There are no countries or U. Testing is recommended if you are a pregnant woman with symptoms of Zika and have traveled to a zoka area with risk of Zika purple areas outside of the U. Testing is no longer routinely recommended if you are a pregnant woman with no symptoms of Zika, but may be considered if you traveled to an area with risk of Zika purple areas.
You should be tested for Zika if you are pregnanttraveled to an area with risk of Zika purple areas and your doctor sees Zika-associated abnormalities on an ultrasound or you deliver a baby with birth defects that may be related to Zika.
Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link. Zika Virus. Section Navigation. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Syndicate. Testing for Zika. Minus Related Pages. For Healthcare Providers. Get Email Updates. To receive email updates about this page, enter your tsst address: Email Address. Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
User Top Links
A Zika virus test is usually a blood test or a urine test. If you are getting a Zika blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. Zika virus infection is typically diagnosed with blood and urine tests. Laboratory tests may include either molecular tests for Zika virus, which detect the presence of the virus itself, or an antibody test that detects antibodies produced by the immune system after a person has been exposed to the virus. Zika is a viral infection that is spread primarily by the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes and less commonly by sexual transmission. Testing detects the genetic material (RNA) of the Zika virus in blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or amniotic fluid or detects antibodies in the blood produced in response to Zika virus infection.
When you develop a fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis pink eye after traveling to an area where Zika virus is endemic or have symptoms and had sexual contact with someone who recently traveled from an area where Zika is present; if you are pregnant and have traveled to an area where Zika is active, regardless of symptoms; or when a baby is born with microcephaly small head.
You may be able to find your test results on your laboratory's website or patient portal. However, you are currently at Lab Tests Online. You may have been directed here by your lab's website in order to provide you with background information about the test s you had performed. You will need to return to your lab's website or portal, or contact your healthcare practitioner in order to obtain your test results.
Lab Tests Online is an award-winning patient education website offering information on laboratory tests. The content on the site, which has been reviewed by laboratory scientists and other medical professionals, provides general explanations of what results might mean for each test listed on the site, such as what a high or low value might suggest to your healthcare practitioner about your health or medical condition.
The reference ranges for your tests can be found on your laboratory report. They are typically found to the right of your results. If you do not have your lab report, consult your healthcare provider or the laboratory that performed the test s to obtain the reference range.
Laboratory test results are not meaningful by themselves. Their meaning comes from comparison to reference ranges. Reference ranges are the values expected for a healthy person. They are sometimes called "normal" values. By comparing your test results with reference values, you and your healthcare provider can see if any of your test results fall outside the range of expected values. Values that are outside expected ranges can provide clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases.
While accuracy of laboratory testing has significantly evolved over the past few decades, some lab-to-lab variability can occur due to differences in testing equipment, chemical reagents, and techniques. This is a reason why so few reference ranges are provided on this site. It is important to know that you must use the range supplied by the laboratory that performed your test to evaluate whether your results are "within normal limits.
Zika is a viral infection that is spread primarily by the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes and less commonly by sexual transmission.
Testing detects the genetic material RNA of the Zika virus in blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid CSF , or amniotic fluid or detects antibodies in the blood produced in response to Zika virus infection. For people who do develop symptoms, prognosis is very good for full recovery. The most common initial symptoms of Zika include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis pink eye lasting from a few days to a week.
These symptoms are similar to other mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and chikungunaya. The similarities between Zika symptoms and other diseases mean that laboratory testing is essential to diagnosing Zika virus.
Zika virus infection is typically diagnosed with blood and urine tests. Laboratory tests may include either molecular tests for Zika virus PCR , which detect the presence of the virus itself, or an antibody test that detects antibodies produced by the immune system after a person has been exposed to the virus. Since the first human case of Zika virus in , outbreaks have been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
Zika was found in Brazil in May , representing the virus' first introduction to the Americas. Since then, it has rapidly spread through the Americas.
While most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop noticeable or severe symptoms, it can cause risk of serious complications for a pregnant woman and her unborn child, including miscarriage and birth defects. Starting in May , Brazilian health officials reported an increase in Zika infections along with an uptick in babies born with microcephaly smaller than expected heads.
Since the outbreak that started in Brazil, the CDC has confirmed that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause severe microcephaly and other birth defects. Babies with microcephaly have much smaller heads than normal and severe microcephaly causes a range of lifelong problems, including developmental disabilities, seizures, hearing loss, and vision loss.
Scientists are still learning about other impacts of Zika infection during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, the CDC web page has up-to-date recommendations on how to protect yourself.
GBS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own nervous system, causing muscle weakness and paralysis. Researchers are still working to understand what causes GBS, but most people with GBS develop it after a viral or bacterial infection. In January , the CDC issued a travel alert for areas of the world where Zika virus is circulating.
The alert recommends that pregnant women avoid travel to certain areas with Zika, and that women considering pregnancy consult their healthcare providers before traveling to those areas. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika virus.
Avoiding Aedes mosquito bites is the best way to prevent a Zika infection. Since information about Zika is changing quickly, check the CDC's web site for the latest on the virus. A blood sample is collected by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. A urine sample is collected by voiding into a clean container. Sometimes, a healthcare practitioner may collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid or amniotic fluid. Zika virus testing is used to detect a Zika infection in a person without signs and symptoms and to determine whether a person with signs and symptoms of Zika has been infected after exposure in a region with Zika virus.
It may also be used to test people who have had sexual contact with a recent traveler to a country with Zika. Zika infection may be difficult to diagnose without laboratory tests because symptoms may resemble those of other diseases, such as dengue fever or chikungunya infection, or the patient may be asymptomatic.
Currently, two types of testing are available:. Molecular tests of blood are not likely to detect Zika after 7 days of illness. Urine testing can detect Zika RNA for at least two weeks after symptoms begin. According to a recent study, urine may be the preferred specimen for detecting Zika RNA during the first three weeks of illness.
If urine and blood specimens are taken less than 7 days after the onset of illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC recommends testing both samples. If the result of a PCR test is negative, an antibody test can be used to help establish a diagnosis, according to the CDC see below.
IgM antibody tests can be positive if a person has been infected with a similar virus, such as dengue called cross-reaction. If an initial IgM antibody test is positive, a second test called the Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test PRNT is used to confirm the presence of antibodies to Zika virus and to help rule out other viral infections.
The amount of time that it takes for test results to become available can vary depending on where the person being tested is located and whether the state public health laboratory is performing Zika testing.
Some samples may need to be sent to the CDC for testing. In general, it may take about three weeks for results, according to the CDC. Zika testing may be ordered when an individual has signs and symptoms associated with Zika infection and recently traveled to areas where the virus is actively spread by mosquitos or had sexual contact with someone who recently traveled from an area where Zika is present. Signs and symptoms of Zika typically last between 2 and 7 days. Some of the main signs and symptoms include:.
According to CDC guidelines, asymptomatic pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area with active Zika transmission may be offered the antibody test. Pregnant women who have had sexual contact with a recent traveler to a country with Zika may also be tested. Testing may be performed when a newborn has microcephaly an abnormally small head. If a person has Guillain-Barre syndrome and is at risk for Zika virus, that person may be tested. Since information about Zika is changing quickly, check the CDC's web site for the latest on the virus and testing.
Tests for the Zika virus or antibodies do not provide any information about fetal health in pregnant women with Zika virus.
Physical symptoms like rash or aching joints are not a reliable means for diagnosing Zika because the symptoms are not specific to Zika. The U. Food and Drug Administration FDA has directed blood collection facilities to screen all donated blood and blood components for the Zika virus.
The FDA approved two investigational tests for this purpose. The tests were approved under an "investigational new device IND " protocol and did not go through the standard regulatory process prior to implementation, which can be time-consuming. The tests screen for the presence of the virus by detecting its genetic material RNA.
Units of blood that test positive for the virus are removed from the supply and not used for transfusions. The amount of time that it takes for results to become available can vary depending on where you are located and whether your local or state public health laboratory is performing Zika testing. Test results may be available within 3 weeks. However, it may take longer during the summer when arbovirus viruses spread by bites of mosquitos and ticks activity is high.
It can be spread from a pregnant woman to her developing baby. In rare cases, it can be spread from person-to-person through sexual contact.
The CDC recommends that until more is known about Zika and pregnancy , pregnant women use condoms with male sexual partners who have lived or traveled to areas with Zika. In rare cases, Zika may be transmitted through blood transfusion or organ donation. Health officials are still investigating reports of Zika transmission via blood transfusion in Brazil. Currently, there is no Zika vaccine available and no treatment for the virus. Limiting exposure to the virus primarily depends upon protecting against mosquito bites.
To avoid mosquito bites:. Since Zika can be spread through sexual contact, you can help protect yourself by using a condom correctly and consistently when you have sex. The only way to be sure to avoid getting Zika through sexual contact is by abstaining from sex.
Press release: CDC issues interim travel guidance related to Zika virus for 14 countries and territories in central and South America and the Caribbean. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Petersen, E. Laboratory testing for Zika virus infection, interim guidance. World Health Organization. Updated April Available online at www. Zika virus.
Zika and blood transfusion. Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.