New guidelines for testing of Zika virus


The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for health care professionals on the testing of pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus. The new guidelines consider the decline in new Zika virus cases in areas previously impacted by Zika and the increased likelihood of false positive test results among women who were exposed to the virus but never developed symptoms. The CDC’s new guidelines include:

  • All pregnant women should be asked at every prenatal visit about possible Zika virus exposure before and during the pregnancy

  • Pregnant women recently exposed to and showing symptoms of Zika virus should be tested to determine the cause of the symptoms

  • Pregnant women with ongoing Zika exposure – either living in or frequently travelling to a Zika affected area – but with no symptoms should be offered Zika virus testing three times during pregnancy

  • Pregnant women who have been exposed to Zika, through travel or sexual exposure, but who do not have any symptoms are not recommended to have Zika virus testing

  • Pregnant women with recent Zika virus exposure and who have a fetus with prenatal findings that suggested potential Zika-related birth defects should receive Zika virus testing

As of Tuesday, July 25, 2017, a total of 1,805 patients have been tested for Zika virus in Connecticut. Of those, 118 patients, including eight pregnant women have tested positive for Zika virus. An additional 61 patients, including 47 pregnant women, have tested positive for Flavivirus, a related class of viruses that include Zika, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus. Of the 179 total Zika or Flavivirus positive patients, the majority contracted the virus while in Puerto Rico (47), the Dominican Republic (38), Jamaica (17), Guatemala (11) and Haiti (10).
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