Practice Alert: New Process for Ordering Zika Virus Testing

Highlights:

• Healthcare providers must now call the NYC Health Department for approval before testing New York City residents for Zika virus infection.
• Call 1-866-692-3641 from Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm, to obtain approval.

On Monday, March 21, the New York City (NYC) Health Department is changing the process for submitting specimens for Zika virus testing to the Department’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL).

Healthcare providers must call the NYC Provider Access Line (PAL) at 1-866-692-3641 to request Zika virus testing for NYC residents. The system change is to assure that appropriate tests are ordered and that specimens are correctly collected, labeled, processed, packaged, and transported. The Health Department will assist providers with ordering the appropriate tests, completing required forms, and arranging transport of specimens to PHL.

Testing is indicated when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  1. A pregnant woman who:
    • Spent time in an area with active Zika virus transmission* while pregnant, or
    • Had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a partner who spent time in an area with active Zika virus transmission*
  2. A person who developed one or more Zika virus-compatible symptoms up to 4 weeks after spending time in an area with active Zika virus transmission.* Symptoms of Zika virus infection include acute onset of fever, maculopapular rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis.
  3. A fetus or infant with suspected or confirmed microcephaly or intracranial calcifications (diagnosed prenatally or at birth) whose mother:
    • Spent time in an area with active Zika virus transmission* while pregnant, or
    • During pregnancy, had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a partner who spent time in an area with active Zika virus transmission*
  4. A person who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome after spending time in an area with active Zika virus transmission*

Click HERE for additional information about Zika virus testing in NYC. For questions about testing, or to discuss a case, please call the Provider Access Line: 1-866-692-3641. To follow up on laboratory reports please call the PHL: 1-212-447-2864.

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