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Pregnant Travelers who Live in an Area Without Risk of Zika

What are the testing recommendations for symptomatic pregnant women with Zika virus exposure?

CDC recommends laboratory testing for any symptomatic person, regardless of pregnancy status, with Zika virus exposure. Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes.  Zika virus exposure means that they traveled to or had sex without using a condom with someone who lives in or traveled to an area with Zika risk.

What are the testing recommendations for asymptomatic pregnant women who return from travel to areas with Zika risk but no Zika Travel Notice?

Testing is recommended:

  • For any pregnant women with a Zika virus exposure, regardless of symptom status, if signs of congenital Zika virus syndrome are detected prenatally,
  • For neonates if signs of congenital Zika virus syndrome are present (e.g., intracranial calcifications, microcephaly, ventriculomegaly, and cerebral atrophy).

Testing for asymptomatic pregnant travelers with Zika virus exposure who have traveled to an area with Zika risk but no Zika travel notice is not routinely recommended. False positive results are more likely to occur when there are lower levels of Zika virus transmission or co-circulation of other flaviviruses. Positive Zika virus serology results require additional confirmatory testing and these results might take several weeks. Healthcare providers can offer testing on a case-by-case basis for asymptomatic pregnant women who are concerned about Zika virus infection.  However, pretest counseling should clearly convey the limitations associated with interpretation of test results.

How should healthcare providers counsel pregnant women and their partners returning from travel to areas with Zika?

Healthcare providers should screen their pregnant patients for possible Zika exposure by asking about their travel history. Pregnant women should talk to a healthcare provider after their trip, even if they don’t feel sick. Travelers returning from any area with Zika who have a pregnant partner should use condoms every time they have sex (vaginal, anal, and oral) or not have sex during the entire pregnancy. For more information, see Zika and Sexual Transmission.

All travelers returning from areas with Zika should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after they return home to prevent spreading Zika to uninfected local mosquitoes.

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