CDC: Zika Virus Detection Made Easier Through New Urine Test; Can Help Control Virus Spread

By Daniel Joseph, Parent Herald May 11, 06:20 pm

The most common method for Zika virus detection is through a blood test. Fortunately, an easier, faster and more convenient Zika virus detection has been introduced -- a urine test for Zika.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued this new guideline for Zika virus detection on Tuesday, saying that the virus can be observed at greater levels and for a longer time period in urine than in blood. Having an easier Zika virus detection method is an important development for controlling the spread of the virus.

When health experts gave 66 people in Florida both blood and urine tests, they found out that the urine test for Zika virus detection is more accurate. A blood test can detect Zika virus for one week after the Zika symptoms start while the urine test can detect the virus for as long as two weeks.

"The timing is excellent," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert, told CBS News. "There's a much longer window for detecting the virus," he said.

However, the CDC is not advising to abandon blood testing for Zika virus detection. "We are not recommending to replace blood testing. We're saying to do both," Dr. Marc Fischer, a CDC epidemiologist, explained to CBS News.

Zika virus is dangerous not only for the symptoms it causes such as fever, skin rash, joint pain and red eyes. Pregnant women infected with Zika virus can also give birth to babies with microcephaly -- a birth defect that involves a smaller head and other brain deformities, according to the CDC. Therefore, this easier method of Zika virus detection can make a big difference for the lives of many people.

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