Texas Doctors Under-Test for Zika

Zika birth defects reported in 8% of zika infected Texas mothers
Travel (Zika News)

Zika virus testing for both travel-related cases and local transmission, need increased surveillance from Texas physicians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A recent CDC analysis found that 57% of infants or fetuses for whom Zika testing was indicated, did not receive tests.

This is important because 8% of Texas infants or fetal losses were delivered with lab-confirmed Zika.

The Texas birth defect rate of 8% compares with 5.5% for the entire USA, and 4.4% in USA territories.

The CDC is asking physicians caring for newborn infants to be aware of the Zika testing status of the mother, particularly in geographic locations with high potential for local mosquito-borne transmission, such as southern Texas.

Between January 1, 2016–July 31, 2017, a total of 219 pregnant women with laboratory evidence of possible recent Zika virus infection were identified in Texas, including 49 (22%) with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection. One woman was infected in Texas; all others were exposed outside the United States and its territories.

Most people infected with Zika do not experience symptoms or will only have mild effects, including fever, rash, headache, joint and muscle pain and red eyes, according to the CDC.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been linked to adverse congenital outcomes including microcephaly, neural tube defects, early brain malformations, structural eye abnormalities, congenital deafness, and limb contractures.

The CDC says Zika can be transmitted sexually and to take precautions if you or your partner travel to known Zika locations for at least three weeks after returning home.

Zika can persist in semen over extended periods of time.

Before traveling, the CDC suggests checking to see if your destination is on the CDC list of areas with Zika.

This CDC study was completed by Erin Thompson, Rebecca Breidenbach, Shady Al-Sayyed, Kamesha Owens; Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas. No conflicts of interest were reported.