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Zika Infections Can Be Detected Years Later

October 14, 2021 • 6:15 pm CDT
(Zika News)

The Zika virus disease is a nationally notifiable condition in the USA. Using standard case definitions, cases are reported to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by state, territorial, and local health departments.

Since antibodies against Zika can persist for years after infection, serology cannot distinguish between a recent or past Zika infection. 

As of October 5, 2021, the CDC confirmed there had been only one Zika virus disease case related to an international traveler in the USA.

In 2021, there have been no confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported from U.S. territories. Additionally, many suspect Zika cases from the territories have been tested using molecular testing, and none have been positive.

However, twenty-two Zika cases were acquired through local mosquito-borne transmission in the U.S. Territories in the past.

In 2020, there were active Zika virus transmissions reported in Puerto Rico.

These presumed locally acquired cases of Zika in the U.S. territories were diagnosed using serologic testing, which detects antibodies against Zika.

Until there is a U.S. FDA-approved Zika vaccine, the best way to prevent a Zika infection is by avoiding mosquito bites, says the CDC.