Zika Virus: Information for Providers

For the latest guidance surrounding Zika, including on prevention and on caring for pregnant women and infants, review the CDC’s Zika Virus information for health care providers.

Testing for Zika

Providers caring for NYC residents should use commercial laboratories for all Zika virus testing. For questions about testing or to report Zika-positive cases that have been diagnosed by a commercial laboratory, call 866-692-3641 or report it online.

Testing at the Public Health Laboratory

Testing is available at the NYC Public Health Laboratory, but only for special situations. You must get pre-approval before submitting any specimens. Approval may be granted in the following situations:

  • Infants who may have abnormalities suspected to be associated with congenital Zika virus infection and were born to an exposed mother, even if maternal Zika virus testing results were negative.
  • Possible Guillain-Barré syndrome or any unusual neurologic manifestation.
  • Possible unusual modes of transmission, such as by transfusion or organ transplantation.

How to Interpret Tests

A recent study demonstrated that, similar to other flavirivus infections, Zika IgM antibodies may persist for over a year after infection. Also, serologic cross reactivity with dengue virus can produce a positive Zika IgM result. Determining the timing of infection relative to pregnancy may be complicated for women with prior or ongoing exposure. Providers should appreciate and convey to patients the limitations of Zika serology for clinical decision-making.

A positive Zika IgM antibody test result for a pregnant person could mean:

  • Zika virus infection during current pregnancy, indicating the pregnancy is likely at risk from Zika.
  • Zika virus infection before current pregnancy, indicating the pregnancy is not likely at risk from Zika.
  • False positive result, indicating the pregnancy is not likely at risk.

For help interpreting test results, call 866-692-3641, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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