zika-blog-v3Our Public Health Laboratory has been authorized by the CDC to begin testing for the Zika virus. We received a Zika virus testing validation panel from the Laboratory Response Network at CDC late last week, passed the proficiency testing panel and were authorized to test for Zika virus this past Monday. Using this test we can run up to 100 clinical samples per day for the Zika virus. We are also authorized by CDC to test samples for the presumptive detection of IgM antibodies to Zika virus. Our lab was one of the first three in the country to be authorized by CDC to test for Zika virus.

On Monday,

the same day our lab was authorized by CDC, we were able to detect the first travel associated case of Zika virus in an individual with a travel history to a Zika affected country using the real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which amplifies viral RNA by several orders of magnitude, allowing our scientists to make a definitive determination in a matter of hours. With these Zika tests up and running in our laboratory we will no longer need to send samples to the CDC for initial testing.

Our lab and IT staff built a Zika Virus website that provides guidance and logistics for collecting and submitting samples for analysis after contacting your local Health Department. The State Public Health Lab website includes laboratory safety and describes how to package and ship samples to the Public Health Lab for testing along with the clinical specimen submission form, and additional resources for laboratory personnel.

The CDC’s Zika Virus website also contains a wealth of useful clinical and public health information for medical and public health professionals as well as the general public and media.