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Testing for dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Zika virus. What you should know.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Zika, dengue, and chikungunya testing

Three mosquito-transmitted viruses that travelers want to avoid are dengue, chikungunya and Zika (if pregnant).

You may have concerns about whether your primary doctor is familiar with these diseases and what the proper testing procedures are if you have symptoms. There are no vaccines. 

I have enclosed those procedures done by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. You can use their guidelines to be sure your healthcare provider is aware of the proper testing procedures.

The MA State Public Health Laboratory uses a PCR test to detect the genetic material of Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses and the Zika IgM MAC-ELISA to test for antibody response to infection. Additional work is ongoing to reach full testing functionality which will include IgM ELISAs for chikungunya and dengue viruses and PRNT (confirmatory) testing for Zika, chikungunya and dengue viruses.

All specimens for testing pregnant women for Zika virus should be sent to the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory. Currently, although some commercial laboratories do offer PCR and an antibody screening test (the Zika IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), none of them offer confirmatory serology testing (plaque reduction neutralization test)) and multiple test types may be required for diagnosis. If a provider requests testing of pregnant women for Zika virus from a commercial lab, the CDC advisory of June 22, 2016 recommends that a serum aliquot be stored for subsequent Zika IgM ELISA testing of Zika PCR negative samples.

Prevent Zika, dengue, chikungunya and malaria.


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