Zika testing recommendations changed for pregnant women

There’s never been anything easy about the Zika virus outbreak, and a new complication is now coming to light.

Testing for Zika infection is becoming more difficult, making it harder for doctors to advise pregnant women about the chances their child might have a Zika-related birth defect, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a health advisory issued Friday.

The CDC is now suggesting that women thinking of getting pregnant, and who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or because of where they live, should consider having their blood tested for Zika antibodies before they get pregnant. Having a baseline reading would help to interpret Zika tests done during a later pregnancy.

The CDC is also suggesting that pregnant women who have no symptoms of Zika infection but may have been infected should be tested with two different tests at various stages of their pregnancies.

The problem is that a type of antibody triggered by Zika infection — it’s called IgM — can stick around in the blood for months, emerging evidence suggests.

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