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Interim guidance for Zika virus testing on urine


May 10, 2016 


Today, CDC updated its interim diagnostic testing guidance for Zika virus in public health laboratories based on preliminary data demonstrating that Zika virus can be found at higher levels or for longer duration in urine than in serum (blood): 

  • Zika virus rRT-PCR should be performed on urine collected ≤14 days after illness onset.  
  • Zika virus rRT-PCR should continue to be performed on serum specimens collected <7 days after illness onset. 
  • A positive Zika rRT-PCR result is evidence of a current Zika virus infection.  
  • Because viremia decreases over time and dates of illness onset may not be accurately reported, a negative rRT-PCR does not exclude Zika virus infection, and IgM antibody testing should be performed.  

CDC will continue to update this guidance because these data are preliminary and additional rRT-PCR data will become available. 


Interim Guidance for Zika Virus Testing of Urine — United States, 2016 

Diagnostic testing for Zika virus infection can be accomplished using both molecular and serological methods. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is the preferred test for Zika virus infection because it can be performed rapidly and is very specific. However, in most patients, Zika virus RNA is unlikely to be detected in serum after the first week of illness. Recent reports suggest that Zika virus RNA can be detected for longer duration in urine than in serum. Based on newly available data, CDC recommends that Zika virus RT-PCR be performed on urine collected less than 14 days after illness onset in patients with suspected Zika virus disease. More MMWRs related to Zika virus disease are available at

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