Lab test error leads to false negative for pregnant woman, 2 others with Zika

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Three Washington, D.C., residents retested positive for Zika after previously botched tests conducted in 2016 indicated they were not infected with the virus. One of the residents was pregnant at the time of the faulty test, according to The Washington Post.

In addition to the three retroactively confirmed Zika cases, the retests identified 26 others — including several pregnant women — who previously received negative test results that should have come back inconclusive.

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The pregnant woman with the newly confirmed case of Zika has already given birth to her child, who was not born with the neurologically debilitating birth defect microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head. However, developmental defects related to congenital Zika syndrome may not manifest until a year or more after birth, meaning the children of mothers with inconclusive status will have to wait some time before knowing whether or not their child has been affected.

In February, The District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory resent 409 Zika test samples to the CDC for evaluation after identifying calculation and formulation errors that may have occurred during processing.

Public health labs across the nation have since been advised to conduct backup verification tests when testing for Zika, according to the Post.

On May 5, the CDC updated its guidance to providers for interpreting Zika virus tests for women who live in or regularly travel to areas with active Zika transmission. The new guidelines include testing pregnant women once during each trimester.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
CDC issues updates for interpretation of Zika test results for pregnant women 
Miami-Dade's Zika spending approaches $30M 
3 things to know about 'Zika twins'

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