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For Providers: Information on Zika Virus Testing in the District of Columbia

Any Zika positive result, regardless of where the testing was performed, is reportable to the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health)DC Health coordinates Zika virus testing through the DC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) for patients identified by healthcare providers in DC who meet the indications for testing and need for PHL services. DC Health does not provide direct patient care testing services. Please see guidance documents and updated recommendations for testing below. 

Submitting a Test Request or Reporting a Case 

Zika test requests and case reports should now be submitted online to the DC Health Division of Epidemiology – Disease Surveillance and Investigation using DC Reporting and Surveillance Center (DCRC), our online reporting system. Once received, case reports will be processed according to the following flow chart:
Zika Testing Approval Process

Zika Virus Disease (ZVD) Guidance and Recommendations 

For the most updated Zika guidance, please read the DC Health Notices (updated monthly).

Key Points about Testing are highlighted below

DC Health is recommending that all Zika testing be performed by commercial laboratories, with the exceptions below.

Indications for Testing (effective May 1, 2018):                        

  • Any symptomatic person with an exposure to Zika (including pregnant women)
  • Asymptomatic pregnant women with ongoing Zika exposure
    • Ongoing exposure is defined as current residence in or frequent travel (e.g. daily or weekly) to an area with the risk of Zika
  • Pregnant women who were exposed to Zika and have ultrasound findings consistent with Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS)
  • Infants who are born with or develop clinical findings consistent with CZS regardless of maternal test results
  • Infants without clinical findings consistent with CZS born to mothers with laboratory evidence of Zika infection(Zika positive or flavivirus unspecified)
  • Asymptomatic pregnant women with recent, but not ongoing (including those who have recently moved/relocation), exposure to Zika are NOT routinely recommended for testing
    • Testing in this population can be considered using a shared patient-provider decision making model based on individual patient needs

Exposure to Zika is still considered as travel to, residence in, or unprotected sexual contact with someone who has traveled to or resided in an area with risk of Zika transmission as determined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO)

While most testing should occur through commercial laboratories, testing through the DC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) may be available in the following scenarios:

  • Any person where it is highly suspected they are infected with Zika virus but have no known exposure history (i.e. concern for local transmission, transfusion or laboratory exposure).
  • Any person with concern for Zika virus infection and complicated illness (Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologic manifestations, fetal anomaly)
  • Any infant meeting the criteria for testing outlined above
  • Any individual who meets testing criteria and is deemed by their healthcare provider to be unable to pay for testing

Sample Collection:

  • Please submit serum and urine samples concurrently for all patients when specimens are collected within 12 weeks of exposure (previous recommendation in DC was 6 weeks)
  • Please see the August 25, 2017 Health Notice for detailed testing recommendations

Special Considerations for Infants:

  • Infant serum and urine should be collected and submitted concurrently for testing (cord blood is not recommended).
  • Please complete as much as testing as possible before the infant is discharged from the hospital. Infant testing will be approved on a case by case basis.
  • All infants born with possible Zika virus exposure during pregnancy should receive a standard evaluation, vision and hearing screen at birth. For detailed guidance, please refer to the November 17, 2017 Health Notice.

►Any Zika positive result, regardless of where the testing was performed, is reportable to DC Health

Zika Pregnancy Registry

  • The Zika Pregnancy Registry was established by the CDC to monitor long-term outcomes of pregnant women and infants with potential exposure to Zika virus.
  • The goal is to understand the impact of Zika virus infection on pregnancy and infant development, and use the information to plan services for families affected by Zika virus disease and update recommendations for clinical care.
  • Pregnant women and infants with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection (positive or equivocal results regardless of symptom status) are eligible for inclusion in this Registry.

Please contact the Division of Epidemiology-Disease Surveillance and Investigation Zika Pregnancy Registry Coordinator with questions or for more information: [email protected].

Additional information about the Zika Pregnancy Registry

Infant Follow-Up

  • Infant follow-up form is used to collect information including physical examination, developmental assessments, and imaging and diagnostic testing during the first two years of life.
  • Infants enrolled in the pregnancy registry should be followed during the first two years of life with the “Infant Follow-up form” at 2, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and reported to DC Health.
  • For more information about submitting infant follow-up forms please contact DC Health at [email protected].

Important Forms and Documents

Helpful Links

Last updated: 1/31/2019