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Connecticut Can Now Test In-State For Zika Virus

Acting State Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Raul Pino
Acting State Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Raul Pino Photo Credit: wnpr.org

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Katherine A. Kelley State Public Health Laboratory in Rocky Hill can now test for Zika virus in-state.

“I commend the staff at the State Public Health Laboratory for their hard work and dedication in developing our capability to test for Zika,” said Dr. Raul Pino, commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “In-state testing will allow us to obtain results faster so that pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, their male partners and their physicians can either have peace of mind quicker or can take necessary precautions and steps to protect their health and their pregnancy.”

The Department of Public Health was previously required to send all patient samples to Atlanta for testing at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our state agencies are working closely together as they prepare for any contingencies," said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. "This is an important step by the Department of Public Health and I commend Commissioner Pino for taking action. We, of course, are going to continue to monitor our mosquito population closely as we work with health care providers and officials both here in Connecticut and around the nation."

“Our ability to perform molecular testing allows us to assist health care providers in the diagnosis of Zika virus infections,” said Dr. Jafar Razeq, Director of the State Public Health Laboratory.

Zika virus testing at the CDC is currently limited to pregnant women who traveled to affected areas while pregnant or within two weeks of becoming pregnant. Positive antibody results reveal exposure, but do not confirm active infection.

“While the transmission of Zika virus is primarily by the bite of an infected mosquito, evidence of sexual transmission from men to women is increasing,” said Pino. “Women and men should adopt the recommended precautions to prevent Zika virus associated birth defects and miscarriages.”

Pregnant women are advised to postpone travel to affected areas and adopting precautions to avoid mosquito bites when travel is necessary. Men who travel to affected areas are advised to abstain from sexual activity with a pregnant partner or to use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.

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