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Testing Process

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Getting tested for Zika virus is different from a flu, strep, or pregnancy test, which can be done in a doctor’s office.

Many state and local health department laboratories (labs) are certified to perform Zika testing. If your health department doesn’t currently perform Zika testing, it will coordinate testing with CDC. Depending on the lab’s workload, processing and reporting times may take 2 to 4 weeks. Reporting times may take longer during summer months or when other viruses spread by mosquitoes increase. Here’s how testing occurs:

1. Need for Testing Determined

  • When you visit your doctor, you’ll discuss any recent travel and symptoms. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Your doctor may decide to test for Zika and other viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

2. Health Department Contacted

  • If Zika testing is needed, your doctor will get approval from the health department before collecting samples (blood, urine, saliva).

3. Samples Collected

  • Your doctor will send you to a laboratory that will collect samples for testing.
  • Your doctor will select the test(s) that need to be performed and complete paperwork for the health department.

4. Samples Shipped

  • After samples are collected, the laboratory ships them to the health department.
  • The health department logs receipt of the samples.

5. Samples Tested

  • If your health department has been certified to perform Zika testing, then your samples will be tested there.
  • If your health department is not able to perform testing, your samples will be shipped to CDC and tested.

6. Results Reported

  • If your health department performed testing, it will send the results to your doctor.
  • If CDC performed testing, CDC will report results to your health department, which will report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will then report lab test results to you.

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