Pregnant Women Should Be Tested For Zika Up To Two Weeks From Suspected Exposure, CDC Says

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald July 27, 06:55 am

Pregnant women suspected of exposure to the Zika virus should be tested within 14 days, according to updated guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Previous guidelines stated that pregnant women should be tested for the Zika virus within one week of suspected exposure.

It was previously thought that those infected by the Zika virus carried it in their blood for about a week after showing symptoms of the virus, according to a report from New York Daily News. However, there is evidence that traces of the Zika virus can be found in the blood and urine of pregnant women beyond one week. The new testing period will reportedly "provide a definite diagnosis" for pregnant women. 

Pregnant Women, Zika Virus And Sex

ABC News reported that the CDC urged pregnant women to use barrier conception when having sex. The CDC also called on pregnant women to practice abstinence from sex if their sexual partners, male or female, have gone to an area where the Zika virus is prevalent.

A report from the Guardian said that the CDC cautioned people that the Zika virus can also be transmitted from one person to another through unprotected sex with a female partner infected by the Zika virus. Previous information known to medical experts was that sexual transmission of the Zika virus can only be from male to females as it stays in the semen, possibly for months.

Pregnant Women Without Symptoms Should Be Tested Too

The Guardian's report added that the CDC has also urged that even pregnant women who have not shown any symptoms of the Zika virus should be tested for the virus if they could have possibly been exposed to it. The CDC said that these pregnant women can still show traces of the Zika virus in their blood and urine.

"Expanding the use of the Zika-specific test could provide more women with Zika virus infection a definite diagnosis and help direct medical evaluation and care," the CDC said. Cases of the Zika virus recorded in the United States have been associated from travelling to countries where there is ongoing Zika virus transmission.

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