So far, two pregnant women who had earlier on tested negative have been confirmed positive with the infection likely to be Zika.
Ever since 2016, the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory has placed hundreds of people, mainly the women, under Zika tests.
But the officials announced yesterday that they identified some “technical issues” with the tests conducted in December and thus had to recall some samples for retesting. Those affected are mainly patients who had been tested from mid-2016. Only specimens obtained between July 14, 2016 and December 14, 2016 will be reexamined.
According to the lab’s officials, the “calculation and formulation errors” are the ones that ultimately led to a need to rethink about the tests done before.
The total number of specimen that had tested negative, (294 from pregnant women), have been retaken to the lab for retesting. The 294 were sent to the CDC while those from men and non-pregnant women are being tested afresh from CDC-approved public health labs.
Normally, the results should be out after two to three weeks and will prove whether the samples are actually free from the Zika virus or not. As at the moment, 2 of 62 samples have been found to contain antibodies likely to be linked to the Zika infection.
How the test is done
The scientists are attempting to locate the presence of antibodies that may possibly indicate the presence of an infection from a family of viruses called flavivirus. Zika virus can be one of them. The CDC has decided to regard the patients who had tested positive before as though their positive outcome was a way of caution and monitoring.
This testing issue is a “very unfortunate situation” according to Dr. Christopher Zahn, vice president of practice activities for The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The patients should therefore be availed with their updated results as fast as its possible.
Zahn said via a statement that the CDC has accorded these retests the first priority and that the patients will be “informed of the updated results so they can follow-up appropriately based on current clinical recommendations.” He added that the ACOG and the CDC are working hand-in-hand to ensure the whole process is swiftly finalized on time.
This should be a basic reminder to each one of us that Zika virus is very much active and that all the concerned parties should remain vigilant.