2. For whom is a laboratory test for Zika infection reasonable?
Diagnostic procedure for patients WITH symptoms
All patients with the symptoms mentioned under 1. which develop within 3 weeks after returning from epidemic and endemic areas can be tested for Zika virus by laboratory test.
Epidemic areas are currently tropical regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Please note that the geographical distribution can change rapidly; up-to-date information can be found on the websites of ecdc (Europa), CDC (USA) and WHO (all three in English). The virus is also endemic to Africa, Southeast Asia and also various Pacific islands.
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The blood sample should be taken by your family doctor or gynaecologist or by a tropical medicine outpatient clinic:
- PCR from EDTA blood (1 tube) and additionally urine (at least 20 ml) is useful up to the 7th day after the onset of symptoms;
- From the 8th to the 27th day after the onset of symptoms, serology from a serum sample (IgM and IgG detection) and additionally a PCR from urine or EDTA whole blood;
- after more than 28 days after symptom onset, only serology from a serum sample.
Diagnostic procedure for patients WITHOUT symptoms (pregnant women and their sexual partners)
In the absence of symptoms, serological testing (IgM and IgG detection from serum) is advisable when returning from epidemic areas in the case of currently pregnant female travellers and male travellers with a pregnant sexual partner. In the case of a positive test result in a pregnant woman, the further procedure would have to be discussed with the attending gynaecologist.
Women who are unsure whether they might be pregnant should take a pregnancy test. When sending diagnostic samples to our laboratory, it is essential to provide an accurate travel history (countries of travel, date) as well as the week of pregnancy.