What is Zika?

Zika is an illness caused by the Zika virus. Most cases of Zika are spread to people through mosquito bites from a type of mosquito (Aedes) found in tropical and subtropical regions. However, you can also get Zika through unprotected sexual contact or a blood transfusion from an infected person. Importantly, an infected mother can spread Zika to her unborn child, which can cause birth defects. This is the main reason why physicians are concerned about Zika virus.

Outbreaks of Zika have been reported in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and recently, the continental United States. Therefore, if you have recently been to these regions, or have had sex with a person who has recently been in these regions, you may be at risk for Zika virus infection.

What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus?

In most cases, symptoms of Zika infection are mild (fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, red eyes and/or rash) and clear up by themselves in about a week; many people never even experience symptoms.

Zika Virus Testing from BioReference

Being tested for Zika virus is easy via a urine and blood sample.

CDC Guidance for Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released interim clinical guidance for the diagnosis and testing of Zika virus. Testing of specimens within the United States to determine possible Zika virus infection should be limited to specimens collected from patients meeting the CDC’s clinical and epidemiological criteria for testing. As Zika continues to be an area of evolving care and practice, please check for revisions and updates through the CDC’s Zika website.

When to get Tested

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for several diagnostic tools for Zika virus. BioReference is pleased to offer these tests to ensure a more accurate diagnosis, offering mothers-to- be, women who plan to become pregnant, and healthcare providers’ greater certainty in test results and to help reduce subsequent spread of infection. Please find fact sheets for each of these tests below.

Positive Zika Results

Men and women (who are not pregnant) testing positive for the disease should consult with their physicians to discuss ways to prevent the virus from spreading. Positive patients will also be monitored by their doctor to make sure no complications arise from the infection.

Pregnant women who have tested positive for the disease should discuss options for future medical care with their physicians.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your Zika virus status, talk to your doctor about your testing and treatment options.