DPH: Connecticut DPH Announces New CDC Guidelines for Testing Of Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure

Connecticut DPH Announces New CDC Guidelines for Testing Of Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for health care professionals on the testing of pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus. The new guidelines take into account the decline in new Zika virus cases in areas previously impacted by Zika and the increased likelihood of false positive test results among women who were exposed to the virus but never developed symptoms.

"While the CDC has issued new guidelines, the basic warning, especially for pregnant women and their sexual partners remains: avoid travelling to areas where the Zika virus is present, but if travel is unavoidable, protect yourself from mosquito bites and use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy," said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino.

The CDC’s new guidelines include:

1) All pregnant women should be asked at every prenatal visit about possible Zika virus exposure before and during the pregnancy

2) Pregnant women recently exposed to and showing symptoms of Zika virus should be tested to determine the cause of the symptoms

3) Pregnant women with ongoing Zika exposure – either living in or frequently travelling to a Zika affected area – but with no symptoms should be offered Zika virus testing three times during pregnancy

4) Pregnant women who have been exposed to Zika, through travel or sexual exposure, but who do not have any symptoms are not recommended to have Zika virus testing

5) Pregnant women with recent Zika virus exposure and who have a fetus with prenatal findings that suggested potential Zika-related birth defects should receive Zika virus testing

"Pregnant women and their healthcare providers should thoroughly discuss any potential exposure, and providers should consider many factors, including timing of the pregnancy, duration of travel and the intensity of the spread of Zika in the area where the patient travelled, before deciding whether or not to test," added Dr. Pino.

In Connecticut, DPH began surveillance for the Zika virus on February 15, 2016. No locally acquired cases have been reported – every positive case in the state has been related to travel. The Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory will continue conducting Zika virus testing for pregnant Connecticut women.

As of Tuesday, July 25, 2017, a total of 1,805 patients have been tested for Zika virus in Connecticut. Of those, 118 patients, including eight pregnant women have tested positive for Zika virus. An additional 61 patients, including 47 pregnant woman, have tested positive for Flavivirus, a related class of viruses that include Zika, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus. Of the 179 total Zika or Flavivirus positive patients, the majority contracted the virus while in Puerto Rico (47), the Dominican Republic (38), Jamaica (17), Guatemala (11) and Haiti (10).

DPH will also continue to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women who tested positive for Zika or Flavivirus along with any babies with birth defects born to Zika-exposed mothers. Currently in Connecticut, DPH is following four babies born with birth defects potentially associated with Zika virus to mothers who tested positive for Zika virus.

Content Last Modified on 7/25/2017 3:31:41 PM