Tags: Zika Virus | zika | testing | concern | limits | cdc

CDC Zika Testing Limits Raising Concerns

CDC Zika Testing Limits Raising Concerns

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 02:06 PM

As worries about the spread of Zika mount, public health labs in Florida and New York City are running at or close to capacity, while private commercial labs have won emergency approval to run Zika tests.

But that doesn’t mean that just anybody can get a test, The New York Times reports.

In fact, even people who believe they have compelling reasons to be tested for a virus known to cause devastating brain defects in the fetus, can’t simply walk into a local health department and get tested on demand.

That’s because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued strict guidelines about who should be tested, giving priority to pregnant women with possible exposure to Zika and people with Zika-like symptoms.

Florida officials say they face a backlog of tests for pregnant women, some of whom may be waiting to make decisions about whether to have abortions if they test positive.
But the CDC’s guidelines largely ignore a women and men also at risk — those who are trying to conceive but fear they have been exposed to Zika.

The CDC recommends women contemplating pregnancy avoid travel to places where Zika transmission is occurring and, if they have, should wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive. But the CDC does not recommend testing for them.

For men, the guidance is inconsistent. Although the virus can persist in sperm for months after exposure, the CDC recommends that men who may have been exposed to the virus have protected sex for at least eight weeks after potential exposure unless they have symptoms. But the agencies do not recommend testing.

Officials say the restrictions aim to prevent an onslaught of requests for Zika tests that could clog the system and prevent public health officials from identifying new cases quickly.

But some medical groups are criticizing the CDC guidelines. Last week, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, which represents fertility experts, recommended that men and women who may have been exposed to Zika consider being tested and embark on fertility treatments only if tests are negative.
 

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Medical experts are challenging CDC Zika testing guidelines that some say may put some at risk.
zika, testing, concern, limits, cdc
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2016-06-20
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 02:06 PM
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