CDC Updates Guidance for Asymptomatic Pregnant Women at Risk for Zika — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 8, 2017

CDC Updates Guidance for Asymptomatic Pregnant Women at Risk for Zika

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

For asymptomatic pregnant women who live in or often travel to regions with active transmission of the Zika virus, the CDC now recommends the following:

  • Screen women at risk for Zika. Pregnant women should be tested with nucleic acid testing (NAT) if they develop symptoms while pregnant or if their sexual partner tests positive.

  • Consider NAT testing on a trimester basis if prior tests have been negative. Of note, a negative NAT result doesn't rule out infection.

  • Consider performing NAT tests of amniocentesis samples if the procedure is being performed.

  • Counsel pregnant patients once a trimester on the limitations of NAT and IgM antibody tests.

  • Consider obtaining baseline Zika IgM levels during preconception counseling.

The new health advisory comes following studies that found that Zika IgM can last longer than 12 weeks in some infected people, so IgM detection may not accurately indicate a recent infection. Thus, for pregnant women who test positive for IgM antibody, the results may mean they were infected before conception.

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