The Zika virus is spreading quickly across Central and South America. It’s uncertain what is causing the infectious disease since most cases don’t even have symptoms. Zika virus symptoms usually last up to seven days and they resemble dengue fever. So far no deaths have been reported. Although the Zika virus spreads mainly through mosquito bites, it’s a sexually transmitted disease, which can also spread by blood transfusions. It’s important to understand how the testing for Zika virus works since some tests and phlebotomy protocols may not be as reliable.
Around six different tests, which were developed before the outbreak, have been used but the testing systems are not sensitive enough to notice low amounts of viruses. It’s estimated that around 20 to 80 % of the patients get a wrong diagnosis. Scientists are very concerned that some infections associated with the virus are still undetected.
Two new optimized PCR tests and control to validate each test have been developed by researchers from the University of Bonn, a prestigious public research university in Germany. The test protocols can be ordered worldwide free of charge. This project has been sponsored by the European Union and Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (DZIF).
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is now testing donated blood for the Zika virus. This will help prevent contaminated blood from reaching the national supply. More than 1,100 cases of Zika have originated in foreign countries. Although USA is not classified as an endemic country, there are already 10,314 confirmed Zika cases in our nation. The first case occurred in Miami, FL in late July. These cases have surfaced in north of downtown Miami. It’s important you contact phlebotomist services in your area that follow all the required protocols when testing for Zika.
If you want to find out about how you can become a phlebotomy technician contact UVI, one of the most popular phlebotomy schools in South Florida.